Senate appears ready to follow House lead on budget

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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 the budget plan.

“I’m going to urge all members of this body to pass the budget that comes from the House,” he said. “You may like some of it, you may not like some of it, but I’m going to urge we pass it unanimously.”

Leonhardt added he would urge the governor to sign the bill once it passes and beyond the special session, the Senator urged all members to work to make the bill better afterward for the good of the state.

“We here in this body have an opportunity to bring certainty to some of the citizens of West Virginia,” he said. “That certainty is in this budget right now.”

The action by the Senate seemed to follow Senate President Bill Cole’s sentiments of waiting to see how the House planned to balance the budget without an increase in the tobacco tax. The Senate’s bill to raise the tobacco tax by 45 cents a pack on cigarettes and other tobacco products was defeated in the House.

The Senate has recessed until 1 p.m. Tuesday.