Our job makers speak hard truths

By The West Virginia Record | Mar 20, 2009

Politicians say otherwise, but government doesn't create jobs. Hard-working, risk-taking business executives in the private sector do.

Those interested in turning around a moribund West Virginia economy should take seriously a survey of business leaders released this week by the state Chamber of Commerce.

Eighty-one percent of the executives questioned said West Virginia's civil justice system is a pressing state problem that needs to be resolved. And 82 percent said the activism of our State Supreme Court justices is a problem. That's versus just 17 percent upset about employee health care costs and 18 percent annoyed about state business taxes.

Amidst the worst economic conditions since 1982, it's important to note that the complaining is being done by the only people who can make things better for us.

They're the business owners and the employers. The ones who can pull us out of this economic morass by investing and hiring more West Virginians, starting new business units or expanding current ones.

Business executives always are ready to risk money if they believe new investments will pay off. Right now they don't. And this survey explains why.

Frivolous lawsuits have consequences. One is that the lawsuits have made it too expensive to do business in West Virginia, according to the survey.

Trial lawyers protest they don't want "legal reform." In our Legislature today, those lawyers have the votes backing their point of view. Their interests and their political contributions are valued. How does that work for those wanting to work?

West Virginians should remember plaintiff's lawyers can't make the economy grow again. More lawsuits are good for them but often bad for the rest of us.

It's remarkable when diverse leaders representing a range of businesses in countless industries with competing interests speak in one voice. Equally remarkable is that all believe our runaway courts system -- more than anything else -- is holding back our local economy.

Our state leaders should be called upon to show West Virginia's job makers the respect they deserve.

Those who want jobs and growth should make those politicians listen.

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