Support for WV budget proposal seems to be slipping away
Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette-Mail
Lawmakers moved closer Wednesday to taking a second hiatus from the special legislative session on the 2017-18 West Virginia budget, as support for a Gov. Jim Justice/Senate compromise revenue plan continued to unravel on the session’s fifth day
.Despite a pep talk Tuesday from Justice on the Senate floor encouraging support for the revenue plan (Senate Bill 1007), the 19-11 passage vote in the Senate marked the defection of 10 Democratic senators who had voted for a similar revenue plan on May 5.
In a similar impromptu address to the House of Delegates on Wednesday afternoon, Justice described the defection of Senate Democrats as “despicable,” “terribly disappointing” and “petty politics.”
He urged House Republicans, who have twice summarily rejected similar revenue plans, to support the budget bill.
“If you’re a Republican, when you balance the budget, lower spending and cut taxes, it’s got to be a daggone good thing,” he said. “If you want to tweak and modify it, tweak and modify, but vote.”
Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, said Wednesday that many Senate Democrats had begrudgingly supported the earlier version of the budget bill to keep negotiations alive.
“For the most part, we support the governor’s plan, but the income tax part — shifting the burden from the rich to the poor — is not right,” Prezioso said.