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WV Legislature punts spending bill into spring

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WV Legislature punts spending bill into spring
By Phil Kabler, Staff Writer, WV Gazette-Mail

With no resolution to the budget impasse — and with new revenue estimates showing that West Virginia’s 2016-17 budget shortfall will be $92.4 million larger than projected in January — legislators called it quits Tuesday, pending a special session to be called later this spring.

“It’s not possible to complete this budget in any reasonable time frame,” Senate Finance Chairman Mike Hall, R-Putnam, said after learning that House and Senate budget conferees must close what is now a $238.8 million hole in the budget.

The Legislature adjourned the 2016 regular session Tuesday evening, marking the first time since 2009 that legislators left Charleston without approving a state budget, with a drop-dead deadline of June 30 to get the 2016-17 spending plan passed.

“We’re going to sit down with the governor and the Senate and bring all the ideas to the table,” House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, said of resolving budget issues.

Hall said he hopes agreements can be reached by mid-April, and House Finance Chairman Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, agreed that the process should move as quickly as possible.

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