Be conservative on state budget

Gov. Jim Justice deserves to revel in his “I told you so” moment over West Virginia’s state budget. At the same time, legislators who doubted him earlier this year are to be encouraged to keep up the good work.

Just two months into the fiscal year, collections for the general revenue budget were a whopping $65.8 million ahead of estimates. That is wonderful news.

In announcing the success this week, Justice could not resist some good-natured ribbing of those who doubted him. Even some on his staff were skeptical last spring when he predicted a substantial improvement in revenue collections this year.

So were some legislators, who enacted a hold-the-line budget because they disagreed with Justice’s forecast.

Congratulations, governor. Let us hope the remaining 10 months of the year reinforce your optimism.

Still, lawmakers were right to be cynical — and fiscally conservative. It ought to be remembered that for several years, prior to the Justice administration, budgets were unrealistically optimistic. That forced mid-year spending cuts and other undesirable corrective actions.

Having more money than was budgeted is much better than not having enough.

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