Tight Rein

State officials are putting the finishing touches on a master plan to upgrade the West Virginia Capitol Complex in Charleston. From the published reports, the plan sounds as if it is a nearly ground-up replacement plan for virtually everything but the Capitol itself.

Six new office buildings, including a new facility for use by the Legislature, are included in the plan. It would include office space for as many as 2,668 employees.

More than 1,200 employees now occupy the Capitol Complex. Proponents of the proposed improvements note the existing buildings were designed to accommodate only 750 people.

No price tag has been released for the plan, but rest assured it will be astronomical.

Clearly, some improvements at the Capitol Complex would serve West Virginians well. For example, more parking spaces have been needed for years.

But why plan for new buildings capable of housing more than twice as many state employees as work in the complex now?

West Virginia’s population has been relatively stable for more than half a century. Is there any prospect more bureaucrats will be needed in the foreseeable future?

No, there is not.

State government spending needs to be kept on a very tight rein. Legislators who at some point will be asked to approve funding for the proposed upgrade should reject somewhere around half of it. Taxpayers finding it increasingly hard to afford luxuries in their own homes should not have to pay for them in Charleston.