Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's State of the State address on Wednesday was well received. The governor hit the right notes, rallying legislators behind a centrist agenda.
With more fiscally conservative Democrats than ever, and the largest Republican presence in 80 years, West Virginia's leaders are making more careful choices. They are softening their rhetoric and concentrating on what they can do together.
"This is not Washington, D.C., where partisan bickering has subverted the legislative process," Tomblin correctly observed in his speech.
"This is West Virginia, where the Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative, come together, resolve differences, and take decisive action.
"This ability was made clear, when we came together and overwhelmingly passed legislation to develop the Marcellus Shale, create jobs and provide economic benefits to the entire state."
The governor's speech reflected widespread consensus on a number of issues:
* Education reform will happen. The state beats the nation's average in spending but is at the bottom in academic achievement.
* Higher taxes will not. In fact, the state will cut taxes by $84 million next year as the $54 million food tax ends and business taxes drop a little.