State officials are touring West Virginia to ask the governed which taxes the state should raise to provide more money for highway maintenance and construction.
West Virginians complain about the condition of their roads, and they would like improvements.
But since the populace remains stuck at 47th among the states in per capita income, perhaps state officials should be pressed to answer a question themselves first:
What expenses can the state cut to free up more money for road-building?
State leaders need to face the fact that the public is aware that it is up to its ears in pension liabilities, for example, a subject Daily Mail Capitol Reporter Zack Harold tackled in Monday's Daily Mail.
Defined-benefit pension plans have virtually disappeared in the private sector. Many employers have switched to making defined contributions to 401(k) plans. To varying degrees, companies match the money employees put up.
But West Virginia has remained committed to promising defined benefits upon retirement. The problem is that state leaders were not always committed to fully funding the promises they made.
To catch up, the state poured about 12 percent of last year's general revenue budget into retirement plans for teachers and public employees - $430
million for teachers retirement, $59 million for the public employees fund, $20 million toward state police funds and $2.4 million for the judges' pension fund.