Legislators Need to Tackle Real Problems

In a report released just days before the start of the 2022 regular session of the West Virginia Legislature, personal finance website WalletHub has released its list of the 2022 Best and Worst States to Raise a Family. The Mountain State ranked an abysmal 45th.

During last week’s West Virginia Press Association Legislative Lookahead, lawmakers and members of the administration alike repeated the pretense that they are interested in making the state more attractive both to new residents and those who might be considering leaving the state to raise families. It was language much the same as from the past couple of years.

If they are sincere this time, they will have to take a look at perceived continued failures — and be honest about what parents REALLY want in a place to raise their kids.

In WalletHub’s report, West Virginia was 50th in a category labeled Family Fun, 22nd for Health and Safety, 43rd for Education and Child Care, 41st for Affordability and 22nd for Socioeconomics. Further, the Mountain State ranked 49th for lowest median family salary, 50th for having nearly the fewest number of families with young children in the country, and 46th for the percentage of families living in poverty.

Many of the other challenges in the state have at their core these same problems. Education and child care, affordability, family income and the number living in poverty. The hope lawmakers say they are searching for in terms of lifting us out of the substance abuse epidemic, for example, would get an enormous boost if more West Virginians believed there were good — and good paying — jobs for them, and that they would receive an education that prepared them for those jobs.

But members of the legislature know this. Now they’ll have to decide whether and how to do something about it.


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