Monday, 18 June, 2018

Budget negotiators approve new revenue estimates

Budget negotiators approve new revenue estimates Budget negotiators approve new revenue estimates
Francis Olson | 15 June, 2017, 22:24

During the regular session, Leger also tried to get the Senate version of the budget through the House Appropriations Committee, less than 24 hours before the full House approved Wednesday. "What's this bill do?" It's certainty to businesses of the state, especially those wishing to come here, and it's certainty to our many thousands of state employees. "We're going to make sure we're as flexible as we can with the potential funding sources".

The bill will be sent back to the Senate to see whether senators will concur with the House changes.

Leger said he would support an amendment that would require state agencies to spend less than the amount appropriated to them, paving the way for several Republicans to vote for the amendment even though it distributed all the money.

Cabell and Wayne county delegates voted 4-4 on SB 1013, along party lines. Democrats Sean Hornbuckle and Chad Lovejoy, both of Cabell, and Ken Hicks and Robert Thompson, both of Wayne, voted against it. The House would have made this year's PFD check $1,250, while the Senate voted to make it $1,000.

Most of the budget debate circulated around solutions to midyear cuts. The committee stripped from the bill an additional 1.5-cent flat gas tax. The House later rejected the changes. The Senate's budget cut higher education by about $33 million, exempting Shepherd University and Blue Ridge Community and Technical College.

Current revenue estimates for the funds that support state Medicaid are short of that projection.

State agencies will now have to request funding for those programs directly from the Legislature, after lawmakers voted to sweep $9.7 million back into the general fund on Monday.

Attorneys General come together to fight the opioid epidemic
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill released statistics on overdose deaths in Indiana Thursday showing 1,245 opioid-related deaths in 2015.

Steve St. Clair, a self-described citizen activist from Wasilla, said the state isn't spending within its means, and more cuts are needed.

That important factor wasn't lost on some committee members on Thursday. Brent Boggs, D-Braxton, expressed his frustration about what he said was political grandstanding over certain revenue measures, saying the debate about the budget and revenue for it had turned into a political competition and not a conversation about what's best for West Virginia. "It's shameful we're here - and I'm sad to say, it's because of a lack of leadership".

West Virginia lawmakers are one step closer to passing a state budget, as the state Senate passed an over four million dollar budget bill Tuesday evening.

According to Warren, there have been previous proposals seeking to limit leadership terms. "We just need movement to get these pieces of legislation passed". Carmichael said this revenue was included in the Senate's budget because the chamber passed the legislation.

The capital budget is one of the unresolved pieces, with the special session scheduled to end Friday. The plan also increases funding for alcohol and drug abuse prevention, treatment and recovery, though how such money will be spent remains contentious.

Rep. Paul Seaton, a Homer Republican who aligns with Democrats and co-chairs the finance committee, said those figures were "based on the concept that we were going to be working together (with the Senate) on a fiscal plan solution", which is something that has not happened.

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