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.
He was joined by several cabinet secretaries, elected officials, and members of his staff Wednesday morning to announce he would not sign the budget bill approved by lawmakers late Friday night.
But unlike a previous version of the budget passed in April, Justice said he will not veto the bill either. Instead, he’ll let it become law without taking any action.
The $4.2 billion budget does not include any new revenue, but relies on cuts to public and higher education, a boost to the economy from bills that will fund new road construction, and back filling Medicaid funding by some $30 million with expected surpluses.
Justice called the budget a “travesty” and criticized lawmakers for not approving tax increases he proposed to avoid cuts to programs.
“They voted against the people of this state. They didn’t hurt me, they hurt the people,” Justice said.
In a written statement, Senate President Mitch Carmichael said he was thankful the governor was doing “the right,” allowing the bill to become law without placing an additional tax burden on the people of West Virginia.
The budget bill will take effect Saturday, June 24.