Delegates correct to reject proposal

History, including that of recent years, tells West Virginians that the unscrupulous among us will seize every opportunity to rip off taxpayers. Giving them another opening would be foolish.

During their special session earlier this month, House of Delegates members were asked to approve a bill intended to accelerate government-funded work to help victims of widespread flooding three years ago. The measure would have permitted open-ended contracts with companies handling such projects. In other words, control of spending would be relaxed.

Lawmakers were skeptical. Some wondered whether the bill would do any good, or, in the words of Delegate Dean Jeffries, R-Kanawha, “do we have another crisis?”

Red tape indeed has been a challenge in helping flood victims. Some of it is at the state level. There is more generated by the federal government. No doubt some of it could be eliminated — but many of the rules are intended to prevent overspending.

Surely flood victims can be helped without opening taxpayers up to waste and, perhaps, fraud.

Delegates were right to say no to the bill. As Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, put it, “I’m concerned about the open-endedness, the open-ended contracts. We’re opening ourselves up to being ripped off.”