WITH the water emergency absorbing everyone's time and attention since Jan. 9, it's easy to forget that another potential emergency has been underway in Charleston
While it's not truly an emergency, the annual 60-day session of the Legislature in some years past has had a detrimental impact on the business climate in West Virginia.
Of course, done well, a legislative session can have a strong positive impact that improves the climate for jobs, education and economic growth. Hopefully, the 2014 session will succeed in those respects.
Both the Democrat and Republican parties have announced improved government accountability as among their top agenda items. Great ideas, as long as accountability is done in a non-partisan way.
House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, announced the Republican agenda will include tax reductions, elimination of unnecessary regulations and transitioning more public education matters from state to local control.
In announcing the proposals, Armstead said correctly that the path to economic growth comes through a competitive tax structure, fair business regulations, and a better education system.
"We are not talking about government creating jobs," Armstead said. "We're talking about government creating an atmosphere that the private sector can create jobs in West Virginia."
The GOP also wants a jobs impact statement connected to bills, and a gradual reduction in a non-competitive equipment and inventory tax.
Republicans also believe the state's public education structure for grades K-12 is still too cumbersome and overregulated, and want to continue to push for reforms proposed in the 2012 education efficiency audit.
Both parties in the Legislature, who manage to get along much better than their counterparts at the national level, have some good ideas to move West Virginia forward.
With 45 days remaining in the regular session, let's hope the session is a work of progress, and not another state of emergency.