Editorial: ‘It can’t be done’ attitude must change

The Journal Editorial

Jim Justice has been governor of West Virginia for less than a month. Yet during that time, three state agencies suddenly have found they don’t need as many cars and trucks as they have, courtesy of taxpayers.

Justice himself led the way, announcing a couple of days after taking office that the governor’s staff would be returning five vehicles to the state motor pool.

Then the Department of Environmental Protection said it would eliminate 35 vehicles. Soon after, the Division of Corrections said the same thing about 45 vehicles.

Last week, the Division of Highways announced it will auction off 122 vehicles this spring and fall. More efficient use will be made of cars and trucks remaining in the DOH fleet.

In just a few weeks, state agencies have become suddenly more conscious of the cost to taxpayers of their vehicles. More than 200 are being eliminated.

One can anticipate eagerly how many more cars and trucks will be cut once the Department of Health and Human Resources, one of the giants of state government, “gets religion” on its fleet.

Agencies making the vehicle announcements did not suddenly find themselves with less need of transportation. For one reason or another — and that reason undoubtedly is Jim Justice — they are taking cost control more seriously.

State vehicles are just the tip of the iceberg. Justice should keep pushing the gigantic state bureaucracy to find more and more ways to reduce spending.

For years, a mentality of “it can’t be done” prevailed in Charleston. It’s long past time for that to change.

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