Budget

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Gov. Jim Justice has vetoed the budget bill lawmakers approved early Sunday morning.

The bill relies on $90 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to find a balance and Justice said signing it would be like signing the state’s death certificate.

On The Legislature Today, Gov. Jim Justice has extended the regular session by one day to allow lawmakers more time to work on a budget bill, but he says its unlikely the House and Senate will be able to complete a budget in that time that he would actually sign. 

The governor discusses a likely special budget session, the bills he'll present lawmakers on a session call, and his gasoline tax increase that Justice says has been "childishly" pulled from consideration in the House.

On The Legislature Today, Gov. Jim Justice has signed a proclamation to extend the regular session by one day, allowing lawmakers more time to come to a budget agreement.

During a press conference at the Capitol today, Justice said he was disappointed that a budget compromise hadn’t already been reached.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Protect West Virginia and it’s partners gathered on the Capitol steps to denounce the state Legislature’s budget proposals today, arguing that they would be, quote, “disastrous for West Virginia families, businesses and communities.” 

Steven Smith Protect West Virginia representative said, We will not accept any proposal that mortgages the future of our state and hands this problem over to the next generation.”

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Both the House and Senate will be presented with their respective 2018 budget plans on the floor Wednesday, and in the House, that budget will rely on nearly $140 million in new revenue.

The revenue comes from getting rid of certain exemptions to the state’s sales tax in an effort to lower the overall rate down the road.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senators on the chamber's Finance Committee were given their first look at the chamber's proposed budget bill Monday, which the chamber’s finance chair says relies almost solely on cuts to find a balance.

The Senate’s budget largely relies on cutting all state agencies across the board by 4 percent, but zeroing out some programs altogether. 

Perry Bennet / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House Finance Committee have advanced their bill to "broaden the base and lower the rate" of the state's sales tax, a bill that the chamber is relying on to balance its 2018 budget.

Members were initially presented the latest version of Senate Bill 484 Saturday and took the bill up once again Monday morning.

On The Legislature Today, members of the House and Senate are being presented with their budget bills which the Senate Finance Chairs says look almost nothing alike.

Still, he maintains the Legislature could pass a budget by Day 60.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

At a press conference surrounded by Democrats from both chambers Thursday morning, Gov. Jim Justice said while his office is still willing to negotiate a budget deal with Republican leaders in the House, they reached an impasse Wednesday night.

“We’ve had all kinds of discussions and we got right to the altar," he said, "but the net of the whole thing was we couldn’t make a decision.”

On The Legislature Today, there are several bills making their way through the legislative process that lawmakers are counting on to balance their respective budgets.

Meanwhile, many of those same lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are in talks with Gov. Jim Justice about how to close a budget gap millions of dollars wide. Jason Pizatella, Gov. Justice’s Deputy Chief of Staff, discusses how those negotiations are going so far.

On The Legislature Today, Republican House leadership's budget plan, according to Finance Chair Eric Nelson, aims to protect higher education from additional budget cuts after lawmakers initially announced they’d reduce funding to the system by $50 million.

West Virginia University President Gordon Gee sat down with me earlier today to discuss the potential budget implications for his university.

On The Legislature Today, both the House and Senate are working on their own tax reform measures that rely on changes to the sales and personal income taxes. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Delegates in the House Finance committee met Saturday afternoon to hear yet another budget proposal from Republican leadership. Earlier this month, House and Senate leaders released their budget framework, but not a budget bill.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A Senate committee has delayed consideration of a bill that some Democratic members challenged as being unconstitutional Saturday.

Senate Bill 609 would cut funding to public education by reducing the state school aid funding formula.

On the Legislature Today, members of the House Finance Committee consider two bills that would help balance the 2018 budget, one to lower the overall sales tax rate while getting rid of some exemptions, the other to capture some dollars from the state's Road Fund and increase the beer barrel tax.

Across the rotunda in a Senate committee, members have advanced a bill to create a medical marijuana program in West Virginia, allowing doctors to prescribe the illegal drug for medicinal use.

On The Legislature Today, there are several pieces of legislation making their way through the statehouse to expand broadband internet access in West Virginia.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, 30 percent of West Virginians do not have access to federally defined broadband internet. That's why two West Virginia groups have joined together to promote expansion in any way possible.

West Virginia Governor's Office

Gov. Jim Justice says he and his staff will be waiting for lawmakers in his “war room”—a conference room in the Governor’s Office—every morning until the end of the legislative session to work on a budget compromise.

Justice held the first of those meetings Wednesday, which was attended by six members of the Democratic caucus from both the House and Senate.


On The Legislature Today, Gov. Jim Justice says he or members of his staff will be in his “war room” every morning through the end of the legislative session, inviting lawmakers from both parties to join him to work on a budget.

 

This morning was the first of those meetings and while some lawmakers did attend, they were all members of the Democratic Party.

Steve Helber / AP Photo

Crystal Snyder was trying to figure out life as a single mom when she lost her job at a West Virginia T-shirt factory.

The 37-year-old had no college degree, mostly because she married at 16, divorced at 19 and had two children. Unsure what to do, Snyder heard about a program through the Coalfield Development Corp. that would hire her and pay for her to get an associate degree. Now she works full time for one of the nonprofit's agriculture offshoots.

On The Legislature Today, Republican leaders this week released their 2018 budget framework and progressed a bill to reform the state's tax system, while Gov. Jim Justice made changes to his budget bill that he says will result in a $54 million surplus next year. 

Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy Executive Director Garrett Ballengee and Senior Policy Analyst for the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy Sean O'Leary discuss the plans.

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