May 2016

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May 5, 2016

Grover Norquist tax pledge could affect WV budget talks
By Phil Kabler, Staff Writer

Activist Grover Norquist is best known for the pledge he gives to political candidates promising to oppose any tax increases.

One factor contributing to the now 52-day state budget impasse could be that one-fourth of the members of the House of Delegates have signed Republican political activist Grover Norquist’s no tax increase pledge.

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May 5, 2016

WV budget special session may start in later this month
By Phil Kabler, Staff Writer

Earl Ray Tomblin likely will call a special session to take up the 2016-17 state budget later this month, whether there’s agreement in the Legislature on a budget plan or not, Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss said Wednesday.

“We’re probably talking about doing that sometime in May because of the critical nature of getting something in place,” Kiss said of the timing for a...

May 5, 2016

State revenue numbers continue freefall
By Pamela Pritt, Register-Herald Reporter

As lawmakers await the call for a special session to deal with a shortfall in the 2017 budget, this year's state revenues continue to free fall, with a gaping budget hole of $218.7 million. 

Revenue numbers were $72.2 million below estimates in April.

While energy sector severance taxes continue to plummet, it was April's personal income tax line item that revealed...

May 9, 2016

Labor plans to challenge ‘Right to Work’ law
By MetroNews Staff

The West Virginia AFL-CIO and other union groups have notified the state they plan to file a lawsuit in 30 days over the state law that makes West Virginia a “Right to Work” state.

“While we believe we have strong grounds for a constitutional challenge of the law, based in part on the recent circuit court decision on the Right to Work law in Wisconsin, we also have found several significant...

May 9, 2016

Martirano: Smarter Balanced testing off to positive start in year two
By Matt Maccaro, WV MetroNews

Smarter Balanced Assessment testing is underway in West Virginia, and running smoother than last year according to state Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano.

The test, which is conducted online, ran into some issues on its maiden voyage in West Virginia last spring, taking longer due to connectivity issues and lab space. Martirano said this year...

May 9, 2016

Boone schools cutting back as year comes to end
By Ryan Quinn, Staff Writer

While Boone County’s school board has received attention in recent months for voting to close three elementary schools and cut 80 positions, these cost savings won’t take effect until next fiscal year, and the public school system must still make it through this fiscal year.

Boone is getting advanced funds from the state and putting off owed payments to companies for things like...

May 9, 2016

Special session on budget to begin May 16th
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will call state lawmakers into special session next Monday to work on a new state budget despite the absence of a widespread agreement.

With less than two months to go before the new budget year begins and still no new budget, the uncertainty is beginning to take its toll, Tomblin administration Communications Director Chris Stadelman said...

May 10, 2016

Tomblin calls special session on budget for next week
By Phil Kabler, WV Gazette-Mail

A special session to enact the 2016-17 West Virginia budget will begin next week, despite a lack of consensus in the Legislature on how to close a $270 million funding shortfall, the Governor’s Office announced Monday.

“The governor will call a special session to begin on May 16,” said Chris Stadelman, spokesman for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. “The governor will introduce a...

May 13, 2016

Session call includes tax increases, authority to lay off workers
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

JULIAN, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s special session call for the state legislature includes three proposed tax increases, sweeping unused money in various accounts, dipping into the Rainy Day Fund and a bill allowing him to layoff state workers, if necessary.

The call was issued late Thursday with the special session set to begin Monday. Gov. Tomblin told...

May 13, 2016

House Speaker says taxpayers cannot bear full budget burden
By Shauna Johnson, WV MetroNews

You’ll hear no apology from House Speaker Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha, 40) as state lawmakers head into a Special Session next week for budget work with the projected shortfall in the 2017 spending plan estimated at $270 million.

“Someone needs to be standing up for the taxpayers,” Armstead said on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline” of the continued resistance from a number...

May 16, 2016

Special session begins Monday; Cole calls Tomblin’s tax proposals to balance budget a ‘non-starter’
By Matt Maccaro, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Add Sen. President and GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Cole to the list of Republicans in the legislature who aren’t pleased with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s plan to balance the state budget.

Tomblin has proposed three separate tax increases — tobacco, telecommunications and sales taxes heading into Monday’s...

May 16, 2016

Governor Tomblin: “Let’s sit down and get this budget hammered out”
By Shauna Johnson, MetroNews

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin says he’s giving state lawmakers several options when it comes to possible ways to fill a projected $270 million shortfall in West Virginia’s budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

A Special Session for budget work was opening at 12 p.m. Monday with no consensus among the Mountain State’s leaders on how to balance the 2017...