CHARLESTON — “At one time we had doctors refusing to care for our state employees because their government insurance program let them down. But by creating the PEIA finance board and through our sound fiscal management, we have solved that problem.
“We pay our bills on time, and we are now on a path to resolve our last unfunded liability—Other Post-Employment Benefits or OPEB. In fact, we've cut this liability in half.
“We are less than four years away from paying off our old workers compensation debt. We had a broken system with widespread fraud, poor care for workers, and premiums that were way too high. We stabilized, and then privatized our workers compensation system. The albatross around our economic neck is all but gone, and we now have one of the best programs in the country.
“When our doctors couldn't get malpractice insurance, we took the initiative, reformed our legal culture—and created a physicians mutual giving our providers accessible and affordable insurance. Today, doctors are thriving in West Virginia.
“We have made significant strides in building schools and expanding access for clean water and sewer systems for our citizens. Since 1989, we have spent over $1.7 billion to construct 132 new schools. In just the past two years, we've dedicated a total of more than $165 million to school improvements and construction projects taking place in all 55 counties. And working with federal and local partners, we have invested almost $1 billion in vital water and sewer service.
“As our nation slowly emerges from one of the worst economic downturns in recent history, many states have seen unsustainable budget deficits and devastating cuts to education and infrastructure. Fortunately, West Virginia has done very well, thanks to the strong fiscal management of the last 25 years. In fact, we were one of only 18 states that weren't forced to borrow money from the federal government in order to pay unemployment benefits. We not only have a balanced budget, but because of careful spending, we have one of the best Rainy Day funds in the country.