Budget

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the special session of the West Virginia Legislature this year was supposed to be focused on one thing—putting together a budget for the 2018 fiscal year, but over the course of several weeks, lawmakers spent most of their time debating a separate issue: tax reform.

It turns out, West Virginia wasn’t the only state having the conversation about changing its tax code this year. In fact, 23 states attempted to make changes specifically to taxes charged on services. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the coal industry in West Virginia has been struggling, but over the past several months, revenues from coal severance taxes have increased for the state. That’s because of increased demand overseas, says West Virginia University Research Assistant Professor Brian Lego.

Lego is a member of the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research team that recently released its annual report predicting the future of the industry. He discussed the report with Ashton Marra.

West Virginia Governor's Office

The Governor’s Office says the state technically ended the previous fiscal year in the black last month, but there is already a deficit in fiscal year 2018. 

The new budget year officially began July 1—less than two weeks ago—and the state is already $11 million short.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Jim Justice said the legislatively approved budget for the 2018 fiscal year will become law without his signature. 

“I can’t sign this. I can’t possibly sign this," Justice said.

Huntington Police Department

Five former West Virginia police officers will return to their department after a city's projected $5 million budget deficit laid them off.

The Herald-Dispatch reported on Tuesday a City of Huntington statement says the five probationary officers will return to their posts starting July 3, and that police will also bring on a new officer from the department's civil service hiring list who will enter the state police academy in late August.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House are not budging on reforming the state’s tax code the way Gov. Jim Justice and now Senators on both sides of the aisle want to.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the Senate have approved a budget for the upcoming fiscal year -- for a second time this week.

 

The bill they approved Tuesday contains no new revenue for 2018 and makes major cuts to both higher education and Medicaid in order to find a balance, but the new version of the budget bill approved Thursday night is accompanied by yet another tax reform bill that now has bi-partisan support in the state’s upper chamber.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Gov. Jim Justice is still pushing lawmakers to approve some kind of revenue increasing measure to prevent major cuts in the 2018 budget. 

That push, though, comes as members of the House and Senate are debating budget bills based solely on a newly released revenue estimate, not tax reform proposals that were once at the center of budget negotiations.

West Virginia Governor's Office

Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday the budget proposals being considered in both the House and Senate are wrong for West Virginia and will result in major cuts that hurt vulnerable citizens, but with a deadline to approve a budget in time to avoid a government shutdown quickly approaching, Justice said he would consider signing the budget sent to him. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Wednesday, members of the House of Delegates approved their own version of a budget for the upcoming 2018 fiscal year—a budget that, much like the one approved earlier in the week in the Senate, does not include any new revenue from various tax reform measures debated between the two chambers for weeks.

Instead, the House used the increased revenue estimate sent this week by Gov. Jim Justice’s Office to members of the Senate as the base for its $4.225 billion budget.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

After yet another day of back and forth between the House and Senate, Speaker Tim Armstead says lawmakers are now close to an agreement on the 2018 budget.

And that agreement could likely come without the passage of any tax reform measures. 

West Virginia Governor's Office

Gov. Jim Justice sat the head of a long table in his conference room Monday afternoon, surrounded by reporters and members of his staff. It’s the same room that nearly three months ago Justice declared his budget war room, inviting members of the Legislature to join him and his staff each morning to hammer out a deal.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of a legislative conference committee will continue their work Monday, trying to come to an agreement over tax reform. The conference committee was assembled Wednesday and, according to Legislative rules, must finish their work by Saturday, but lawmakers voted to suspend those rules Friday, allowing the committee to meet over the weekend. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Gov. Jim Justice took questions from a legislative conference committee Thursday that is working on a compromised version of his tax reform plan, a rare appearance at the statehouse.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Legislators have assembled a conference committee to work out the final details of a tax reform bill that has been at the center of budget negotiations at the statehouse for months. 

Lawmakers have spent since the end of the regular session in March formally-- and informally-- negotiating the tax reform bill that began in the state Senate. The Senate Republican-backed plan largely aims to repeal the personal income tax in exchange for a higher consumer sales tax.

West Virginia Governor's Office

State revenue officials have released new income projections for the 2018 fiscal year, but are basing those numbers largely on legislation that has yet to be approved by lawmakers during a special session.

Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy released the updated projections for the 2018 fiscal year Tuesday, increasing previous estimates by nearly $170 million.

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Gov. Jim Justice spent hours caucusing with House Democrats Monday morning as a special budget session continued at the statehouse. 

House Minority Leader Tim Miley said the governor spent more than two hours discussing his latest plan to balance the 2018 budget.

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A group of Republican delegates have introduced a bill to dissolve the greyhound breeders fund, giving lawmakers an additional $14 million to use to balance this year’s budget. 

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Budget negotiations are continuing at the Capitol Thursday after a new revenue deal was presented to lawmakers earlier in the week. 

Gov. Jim Justice presented the new revenue bill to lawmakers Tuesday. The plan has been at the crux of budget negotiations between his office and members of both the House and Senate.

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Legislative leaders in both the House and Senate have agreed to a 12-day recess in their special budget session while they continue to negotiate a deal with Gov. Jim Justice. 

Members voted to adjourn until June 5, leaving the leaders of both caucuses in both chambers to continue to work on a budget plan.

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