May 2016

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May 24, 2016

House rejects tobacco tax hike bill, the only new revenues in budget proposals
By Shauna Johnson, MetroNews

The crafters of West Virginia’s budget for the new fiscal year that begins on July 1 have more work to do. On Tuesday, the House of Delegates rejected SB 1005, the tobacco tax bill, with a 44-55 vote following more than three hours of debate.

House Finance Committee Chair Eric Nelson (R-Kanawha, 35) called the bill a “primary revenue component” of...

May 25, 2016

W.Va. House kills tobacco tax hike
By Lacie Pierson, The Herald-Dispatch

CHARLESTON ­- The West Virginia House of Delegates has voted against increasing the state’s tobacco tax.

With a vote of 44-55 the proposed increase died in the House Thursday afternoon after almost of debate.

Senate Bill 1005, the tobacco tax increase, was the only revenue measure proposed during the current special legislative session to gain traction among legislators.

May 25, 2016

Gov. Tomblin: Don’t raid WV Rainy Day Fund
By Eric Eyre, Staff Writer

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin sent a strong message to West Virginia lawmakers Tuesday: Don’t raid the state’s Rainy Day reserve funds to balance the budget.

Tomblin indicated that he would veto any budget bill that strips more than a “few million dollars” from the state’s Rainy Day account.

“I prefer, first of all, not to take any out, but if I have to close the budget gap, I’d be able...

May 25, 2016

Budget impasse continues as House snuffs out tobacco tax
By Pamela Pritt Register, Herald Reporter

Undeterred by the failure of a tobacco tax in the House of Delegates Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael said the GOP leadership will now focus on other revenue-producing measures to bolster an ailing state budget now $271 million out of whack.

As soon as the House vote failed, a war of words broke out between Speaker of the House Tim Armstead...

May 26, 2016

Senate Finance chair says bigger Rainy Day dip could keep state government running in short-term
By Shauna Johnson, WV MetroNews

The budget deadline is closer than some West Virginia lawmakers may think, according to Senate Finance Committee Chair Mike Hall (R-Putnam, 04).

Friday marks five weeks until the beginning of West Virginia’s 2017 fiscal year and, nine days into a Special Session, there were no indications state lawmakers were nearing a budget...

May 27, 2016

An exasperated WV Senate budget-writer speaks his mind
Dan Heyman, public News Service

Charleston, W.Va. - West Virginia lawmakers have boxed themselves into a budget crisis, and the head of a legislative budget-writing committee says it keeps him up nights worrying about it.

There are some signs of motion in the House going into the weekend, but Senate Finance Committee chairman Mike Hall, R-Putnam County, said the failure of a tobacco tax hike in the...

May 27, 2016

House budget up for passage today
By Matt Maccaro, WV MetroNews

The House of Delegates moved its budget forward to third reading Thursday.

A lengthy House floor session that began around 5 p.m. Thursday saw most amendments to its budget rejected, including a proposal from Del. Ron Walters (R-Kanawha) to strip funding out of various accounts in the budget bill, including eliminating funding for West Virginia University Institute of Technology and Fairmont...

May 27, 2016

BOE Votes To Buyout Contract of Superintendent
By Lauren Matthews, Wetzel Chronicle

At a special meeting of the Wetzel County Board of education, the board voted to buyout the contract of Superintendent Leatha Williams.

This decision was made after an executive session was held, that lasted a bit over an hour.

Williams' employment will last through June 30, and the buyout amount was approximately $143,000.

Board Member Carolyn Gatian was the...

May 27, 2016

Senate appears ready to follow House lead on budget
By Chris Lawrence, WV MetroNews

The state Senate has recessed for the long holiday weekend with no budget in place. The Senate’s version of the proposed 2016-17 budget was on second reading Friday, but leaders chose to let it lie over for a day.

The move along with remarks from Senator Kent Leonhardt (R-Monongalia) seemed to indicate the Senate plans to allow the House of Delegates to take the lead on...

May 27, 2016

Tensions, tempers rise in budget deliberations
By Pamela Pritt,  Register-Herald Reporter

Nine amendments to the House budget bill that would have raided money from higher education institutions from around the state caused such a stir on the House floor Thursday evening that Speaker Tim Armstead felt compelled to leave his podium and address the body from his seat. 

The amendments, which were offered by Delegates Ron Walters, R-Kanawha, and Ray...

May 27, 2016

House approves proposed 2017 budget with list of cuts, $143 million from Rainy Day funds
By Shauna Johnson, WV MetroNews

Five weeks ahead of the start of the 2017 fiscal year in West Virginia, the House of Delegates approved a budget bill with a 61-37 vote on Friday afternoon at the State Capitol and sent it on to the Senate for consideration after Memorial Day.


May 30, 2016

Gazette editorial: Summer of work, or self-induced crisis

Republicans took control of the Legislature — and West Virginia’s government is on the brink of collapse. The current special session is costing taxpayers perhaps a half-million dollars at $35,000 per day.

If it can’t attain a balanced budget by July 1, when the next fiscal year begins, massive state layoffs may occur and crucial services may halt.

Legislators have only one absolute duty: to raise...