Gov. Tomblin: Don’t raid WV Rainy Day Fund

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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 to take a few million dollars, but not anything like $90 million or $100 million,” Tomblin said Tuesday. “I’m flexible, but I’m not going to sit here and balance the entire budget out of the Rainy Day Fund.”

A Senate plan would take $135 million of Rainy Day Fund to close a $270 million shortfall in the state’s general revenue budget. A House of Delegates budget proposal would have pulled $61 million from the fund, but that plan fizzled Tuesday after House members rejected a tobacco tax hike that was part of their budget package.

Tomblin said he was “disappointed” that both houses want to grab Rainy Day funds to balance the budget, adding that it’s fiscally irresponsible to do so. He said the state’s reserves shouldn’t be used for ongoing expenses.

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