Over the years, I've often complained about West Virginia's sometimes skewed budget priorities. These go back way before the current economic and fiscal meltdown the state faces now. And the perfect example of this is the state of funding for higher education.
You can find my recent rants about this in the Gazette here and here.
Here's a recap of the mini-rant version:
*WV ranks at the bottom in terms of higher educational attainment;
*It's also at on near the bottom on income and poverty statistics. (Hmmmm....might there be a connection?);
*Back in 2007 and since, when times were better, the state cut taxes by more than enough to provide free instate tuition and fees to all WV students with money to spare; and
*When adjusted for inflation, WV has cut higher ed funding by more than 40 percent since 2008.
It's starting to show. As WV Public Broadcasting reports, college enrollment here has dropped for the fifth straight year.
Any way you slice it, that's not a good sign. And it's likely to get worse before it gets better--unless we fight back to restore sane budget priorities, which includes raising revenue.