CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Now that we've examined the top business stories of 2013, why don't we look ahead to 2014 and ponder the potential business stories -- big and small -- that we might talk about in the New Year.
* Will the state Legislature tackle any significant tax or spending reforms next year?
West Virginia saw a healthy pace of economic growth in the last year, but you wouldn't know if from state revenue reports. The state's general revenue fund entered December with a $57 million shortfall, and there's talk of mid-year budget cuts to help close the gap.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways has also recommended raising $1.1 billion for state roads over the next decade by increasing Division of Motor Vehicles fees and raising tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike.
With 2014 being an election year, and the GOP eying a takeover in the House of Delegates, it's hard to imagine a proposal raising that much revenue passing during the next session.
* Where will insurance premiums be at the end of next year?
With a divided Congress (most of which is also up for re-election), it's unlikely any significant changes will be made to the Affordable Care Act in the coming year.
The big question for consumers and businesses facing the mandate to provide coverage in 2015 will be how the first year of the health law affects insurance premiums going into 2015.
West Virginia's health care exchange already had higher-than-average premiums going into 2014, and those rates were set before it was learned Highmark would be the lone provider in the exchange.