WV House, Senate pass bare bones budget

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WV House, Senate pass bare bones budget
Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette-Mail

With House and Senate leadership refusing to budge on their versions of bills to raise tax revenue to close shortfalls in the 2017-18 budget, a frustrated, angry and exhausted Legislature figuratively threw up its hands Friday evening, passing a bare-bones $4.225 billion budget bill (Senate Bill 1013).

That’s some $125 million less than the version of the budget sought by Gov. Jim Justice and passed by the Senate Thursday night, based on revenue from what was the latest variation of a Senate plan to raise sales taxes and lower income taxes — a plan the House of Delegates again refused to accept.

The Senate, meanwhile, declined to pass a House proposal that would have raised about $57 million for the 2017-18 budget by “broadening the base” through elimination of some current sales tax exemptions.

With no new revenue to plug shortfalls, the budget makes a number of spending cuts, including cutting budgets for state colleges and universities from 4.6 percent to 6.6 percent for a total of $16 million.

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