While he said the state should prioritize spending better, Martin also said the state can't avoid the fact that it needs to find new sources of revenue.
"We have to look at the stark economic reality that unless you find a way to bring more money in, we have no way to fund new roads in this state," he said.
Martin said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's Blue Ribbon Commission on highway funding will consider new revenue options, including increasing the gas tax. Martin said he would support whatever recommendations the panel suggested, even if it meant increasing taxes or fees.
"I'm a paycheck-to-paycheck guy; I understand what it's like to struggle," Martin said. "I don't want to pay more taxes, but I do understand if we want good schools, good roads and a better future, we have to find a good way to pay for it."
With the need for more highway funding, candidates had serious concerns about the potential expansion of the state's Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act.
The federal government cannot require states to expand their Medicaid programs, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this year. While the federal government would cover new recipient costs for the first few years, leaders in many states are worried about how already-tight budgets will be strained when the federal government reduces its share of funding.
In this state, officials have had to use budget surpluses to meet rising costs in the current Medicaid program.
The Senate candidates said the state should not move forward with expanding the program until it knows the long-term costs.
"There's hundreds of questions that have not been asked yet," Walters said. "Until those questions get answered, I can't be for something where there's not much light shed on it."
"There needs to be a definitive determination of the cost of the expansion," Bright said. "If we can't afford it, we shouldn't do it — it's that simple."
"If you're going to do something, you've got to find a way to pay for it," Martin said. "If we can't, we shouldn't do it."
Carmichael doesn't think President Barack Obama's health reforms will reduce health care costs as predicted, and that could hinder the quality of care for Medicaid recipients.
"The Obama health care program is a disaster," Carmichael said. "The only thing this is going to do at all is reduce the reimbursement doctors receive from Medicaid, which could end up causing them to offer fewer services."
Contact writer Jared Hunt at jared.h...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148.