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June 2016

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June 1, 2016

'Long shot' 1% hike in the sales tax mulled
By Phil Kabler, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

With a state government shutdown looming a month away, West Virginia’s Senate Finance Committee spent Tuesday on a long-shot attempt to resurrect a 1 percent increase in the consumer sales tax.

“I don’t know if it’s a Hail Mary, but it’s definitely a long pass,” Senate Finance Chairman Mike Hall, R-Putnam, said of the efforts to bring back a bill (SB 1003) that was...

June 1, 2016

SPECIAL SESSION UPDATE:

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Mike Hall, R-Putnam, has cancelled this morning's committee meeting, which was going to take up a 1 percent increase in the sales tax.

"There's just several issues relative to the whole process. ... We thought we had a possible outcome that might be good," Hall said.

One issue is that Senate Minortiy Leader Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, wants some Republican caucus support for the 1 percent sales tax...

June 2, 2016

Nearly $200 million from Rainy Day Fund now in proposed 2017 budget
By Shauna Johnson, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Though he admitted he does not like taking nearly $200 million from West Virginia’s Rainy Day Fund to balance the state’s budget for 2017, House Speaker Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha, 48) sees that as the best option for lawmakers right now — nearly three weeks into a Special Session and less than a month ahead of the start of the new fiscal year....

June 2, 2016

Boone schools want payroll money from the state
By Ryan Quinn, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

Boone County Schools’ departing superintendent, who said early last month that “I have every expectation, and no expectation otherwise, that we will be meeting payroll,” didn’t rule out Wednesday the possibility that school workers would miss paychecks if lawmakers don’t soon approve giving $2.2 million more to the school system.

“I anticipate no problem in meeting...

June 3, 2016

Senate, House pass budget, leave Charleston for now
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Legislature went home Thursday night after passing a budget bill that many are predicting will be vetoed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

The bill fills a projected $270 million revenue hole mostly with $122 million in spending cuts and $182 million from the state’s Rainy Day fund. Lawmakers rejected the governor’s tax increase proposals that would...

June 3, 2016

Legislature passes budget, takes $245 million in one-time funds
By Phil Kabler, The Charleston Gazette-Mail

Unable to pass tax increases or make major cuts in government spending, the West Virginia Legislature amended and passed a budget bill Thursday evening that uses $245 million in Rainy Day reserve funds and one-time money to close a $270 million gap in the 2016-17 state budget.

The bill (HB 101) passed the Senate on a party-line 18-16 vote. Later...

June 3, 2016

Measure to help Boone schools remains up in the air
By Matt Maccaro, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Legislature passed a budget Thursday night but never took up a request added to the agenda by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to give $2.1 million to the Boone County school system to finish the current year.

The Boone County system has lost $9.3 million in property tax revenue in recent months because of the collapse of the coal industry, mainly linked...

June 3, 2016

Letter to Boone County educators, BCEA members

The BCEA's Jerry Pcholinsky and WVEA Organizational Development Specialist Michael Hennessey have written a letter to educators in Boone County in the wake of the county's unprecedented budget and payroll problems.

Read the letter...

June 6, 2016

Tomblin will veto “irresponsible” budget bill, spokesperson says
By Shauna Johnson, WV MetroNews

Expect a veto from Governor Earl Ray Tomblin for the proposed $4 billion spending plan the Legislature approved during a Special Session this week ahead of the start of the 2017 Fiscal Year on July 1.

“It’s completely unworkable. It’s an irresponsible plan and it’s not one that the governor can support,” said Chris Stadelman, communications director for...

June 6, 2016

As budget remains unsettled, PEIA debate expected to continue
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

Funding for the upcoming new plan year for the state Public Employees Insurance Agency will be up for discussion again among state lawmakers when Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoes the budget bill passed by state lawmakers Thursday night.

The bill includes an additional $43 million for the state workers insurance plan, an amount originally proposed by the governor, which...

June 6, 2016

Statehouse Beat: Legislature had no plan for budget
Phil Kabler , Staff Writer

As the Legislature spent a third week wandering in the wilderness of the special session, frustrated Democrats poised a legitimate question to leadership: “What is the plan?”

The lack of a concise answer from leadership made it evident even before the passage of a budget bill that relies on a massive raid of the state Rainy Day reserve funds: There was no plan.

Senate...

June 6, 2016

Lawmakers look for path forward with budget veto expected
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

State lawmakers could be back at the state capitol before the end of the week to resume work on a new state budget. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is expected to veto the budget bill passed by the House of Delegates and state Senate last Thursday.

Sen. Charles Trump (R-Morgan) voted for the budget but would like to see less money taken out of the Rainy Day Fund. The budget bill...

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