Chris Schulz Published

Senate Passes Amended House Budget, Expects Easy Approval

Senate President Craig Blair stands on the Senate dais between the completed vote tally for House Bill 2024, the state budget bill. The blue screens show 32 yeas, 0 nays and 2 absent.
Senate President Craig Blair stands between the completed vote tally for House Bill 2024, the state budget bill.
Will Price/WV Legislative Photography

With the Senate’s passing of House Bill 2024, the legislature is one step closer to having a budget bill, the one constitutional mandate the lawmaking body has in its annual session. 

The Senate previously passed its own budget bill, Senate Bill 150, on Feb. 25. 

Before passing the bill, the Senate approved a strike and insert amendment to House Bill 2024 aimed at bringing the two chambers’ budget proposals in line with each other.

One of the changes between the two bills is an increase in appropriations of more than $500 million from the general revenue fund, for a total appropriation exceeding $20.5 billion.

In response to a question from Sen. Charles Trump, R-Morgan, Senate Finance Chair Sen. Eric Tarr, R-Putnam, said he was confident this version would soon be on the governor’s desk.

“I think I’ve heard the answer to this question around the building, but this is agreed to now completely?” Trump asked. “In other words, it’s a House bill, I guess it has to go back there, but are we to understand that you’ve managed to convince them that they should accept what the Senate’s work product is?”

“That is very accurate,” Tarr replied. “I fully expect that as we pass this over. It’s gonna go right through there into the governor’s office.”

Trump concluded his statement by commending his colleagues in the Finance Committee for their work on the budget.

“We should not fail to note this is the fifth consecutive year when we will complete work on a budget within the 60-day regular session,” Trump said. 

Historically, the legislature has reconvened in special session after the conclusion of the regular session to complete a budget. In 2016, the legislature narrowly approved the state’s 2017 fiscal year budget in June.

House Bill 2024 now returns to the House of Delegates for its approval.