Change of heart restores hope, too

An editorial from The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Never has $1 million meant so much to so many of the most vulnerable.

Some might say that’s a bit of an overstatement.

But we doubt any of them are at-risk children, or domestic violence victims.

Earlier this week, the state Legislature agreed to restore more than $1 million in funding to child and family services programs.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin had cut the funding for these social services in line-item vetoes in late March.

At that time, he cited the need to curb spending that relied on the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

Nearly $100 million of the state’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget is already being shored up by this fund —the first time in the state’s history.

Though we can identify with the governor’s reluctance to use emergency funds, about $40 million of those funds were being used for public employees’ raises.

Millions of dollars more from other revenue sources are also dedicated to dog- and horse-track subsidies.

To the governor’s credit, he did work with state Senate and House leaders this week to restore the funding.

And to the Legislature’s credit, its 134-member body voted 120-1, to approve the deal that restored funding to these social service programs.

Aside from obvious reasons for funding early childhood development, child advocacy and domestic violence programs, these cuts went even deeper.

Not only was an estimated $14 million in matching funds and other grants at stake, but so were an estimated 80 jobs that could have been lost.

However, no one can begin to estimate the critical value of child abuse prevention.

Domestic violence services are also just as vital to the well-being of these children and their families.

Our newspaper made its position known on this funding twice in less than a month following the governor’s veto.

There was no mention of social services funding on the gover nor’s call for a special session this week.

So, when we learned an agreement on restoring these funds was offered in a House floor amendment Wednesday, we were pleasantly surprised.

It was also comforting to see lawmakers from both sides of the aisle willing to go to bat for finding these funds.

Tomblin has signed a lot of bills during his tenure in the Governor’s Mansion.

Some that changed little and only catered to special interests in the past.

Others that still may yet live up to all their promise in the future.

However, we can think of few bills that awaited his signature that mean so much to so many children and families in the present.

Click here for The Dominion Post e-edition. 

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