Tomblin signs budget bill into law
By Jeff Jenkins , WV MetroNews
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin used his line-item veto power seven times in signing the new state budget bill (SB1013) into law Friday.
The signing means state government will continue to operate beyond the end of the current fiscal year June 30.
“While the Legislature did not approve all of my recommendations and the process took longer than I would have liked, I appreciate the work of all of those involved in passing a final budget that takes some steps to address our long-term financial challenges,” Tomblin said.
Tomblin also signed several other pieces of legislation Friday approved by lawmakers during the recently completed special session including the bill (SB1012) raising the state tobacco tax by 65-cents for cigarettes. The measure also raises taxes through a percentage increase for loose tobacco and for the first time, a tax on the vaping fluid used in e-cigarettes.
In his line-item vetoes, Tomblin disagreed with approximately $3 million in cuts made by the legislature. He restored a $500,000 cut from the state Department of Agriculture, another $500,000 that was targeted for cuts from the fund to repair wastewater treatment facilities at state parks was also restored. Other line-item veto messages impact permit fees for horizontal well drilling, the Justice Reinvestment Act, horse and dog racing along with marketing funds for the state Development Office and the Controlled Substances Monitoring Program for the state Board of Pharmacy.
The spending plan was approved earlier this week and helped bring to a close a 17-day special session in which Tomblin vetoed another budget bill.
Tomblin signed six other bills into law Friday including a measure that creates a new revenue fund for the Public Employees Insurance Agency (HB123) that will reduce retiree premium increases from 12 percent to six percent.