Liz McCormick Published

Lawmakers Say They're Ready for Special Budget Session

Daryl Cowles

Eastern Panhandle lawmakers met for a Legislative Wrap-Up panel in Martinsburg Thursday, and figuring out the 2018 state budget was at the forefront of lawmakers’ minds.

Eastern Panhandle lawmakers pointed out several accomplishments from this year’s legislative session during Thursday’s Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce wrap-up panel. Accomplishments like legislation to fight the state’s drug epidemic and one to increase broadband access.

But a $500 million budget gap still looms. House Majority Leader Daryl Cowles, of Morgan County, says despite all the back-and-forth on the budget, he feels a budget deal is within reach.

“I’m optimistic actually,” Cowles said, “I think the opportunity is ripening for real compromise and discussion on solving this budget crisis, this year and for the future years is upon us, and I’m optimistic.”

Governor Jim Justice announced Wednesday evening he would call back the West Virginia Legislature on May 4 for a special budget session. Lawmakers have until June 30 to pass a balanced budget, or the state faces a government shutdown.