WV bond rating drop increases concern

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram 

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A perfect storm is defined as “a particularly bad or critical state of affairs, arising from a number of negative and unpredictable factors.”

Kind of sums up the current state of economic affairs in West Virginia as state lawmakers wrestle with the prospects of trying to come up with a balanced budget.

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin favors some revenue increases (read taxes) while the Republican controlled Legislature is talking more budget cuts to the tune of $100 million.

Add into the mix the continued volatile coal and natural gas markets and it’s easy to understand while Standard and Poor downgraded the state’s bond rating from AA to AA-minus.

That rating announcement cited “Structural changes to the state’s economy due to weakness in the energy sector, specifically coal, which in our view is a long-term challenge rather than a cyclical setback.”

Sounds rather ominous…

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