Ashton Marra Published

Armstead: Budget Negotiations Focused on 2016 and 2017 Gaps


Budget negotiations are inching closer to a solution for both the 2016 and 2017 budget years according to House Speaker Tim Armstead.

Legislative leaders and Gov. Tomblin began negotiating a budget resolution in March for the 2017 fiscal year that begins July 1.

State revenue officials predict West Virginia will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars less than they originally estimated during the 2017 fiscal year. That’s due to a decline in the coal industry and natural gas prices, both of which affect severance taxes.

Earlier this week, Tomblin announced the state would need to pull some $50 million from the Rainy Day Fund so West Virginia can pay its bills through the end of June, but he’ll need legislative approval to do it. 

“Both the ’16 and ‘17 budget are on the table so to speak, what do we use to finish the funding for ‘16 and what does that allow us to use for ‘17,” Armstead said Thursday. “So, those are interconnected in a lot of ways.”

It’s unlikely lawmakers will agree to a budget resolution before the May 10 primary elections.

Armstead said when an agreement is reached, he expects a special budget session to take about a week.