The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

April 10, 2013

W.Va. lawmakers seek to limit cuts to new budget

CHARLESTON — West Virginia teachers would get more money for classroom supplies and the State Police could train a new cadet class under a proposed state budget advanced Tuesday by the House Finance Committee.

The committee’s version also scales back some of the 7.5-percent cuts ordered by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for most agencies under his authority. These changes restore funding for such high-priority needs as programs addressing domestic violence and sexual assaults as well as aid to help disabled people live independently, said Finance Chair Harry Keith White, D-Mingo. But it still spends $5 million less in general tax revenues than what Tomblin, a Democrat, proposed when the Legislature’s session began in February.

The Senate Finance Committee amended and advanced its own budget bill Tuesday. With the House taking the lead on the state spending plan this year, and the session ending Saturday, lawmakers are expected to approve a final budget during an extended session next week. The new budget year begins July 1.

The House Finance Committee increased the money that each classroom teacher receives for supplies from $200 to $300. The change responds to the practice of faculty senates, which routinely take half the current amount to divvy up school-wide.

The House committee also added $800,000 to update software so that all schools could link up to the state Department of Education’s network. It cuts $850,000 in department personnel spending to comply with the governor’s wide-ranging education measure, passed earlier this session, which requires 5 percent cuts in each of the next two budget years.

More county property tax revenue than expected helped free up state dollars for these education needs. The committee also erased nearly $46,000 meant to fund a break for West Virginia’s Teacher of the Year, after learning from the department that this money hasn’t been drawn down for several years.

Other changes made Tuesday by the House committee gave the State Police an additional $3 million for vehicles and fuel. That move is aimed at preserving the agency’s personnel budget, typically raided for those costs, so it can start a new class of cadet troopers. Other tweaks restore $161,000 for the Charleston-based poison control hotline, and shift $7.5 million to fund Tomblin’s plan to convert the Industrial Home for Youth at Salem into an adult prison. The Division of Forestry’s tree nursery gained $380,000, after the governor left that funding out of his proposal by mistake, White said.

The committee added and restored some of the funding after the Supreme Court agreed to cut its spending by $4 million. Tuesday’s version of the budget bill also reduces local economic development project funding by $2 million, and money for the state’s 4-H camp by $650,000.

All told, the House Finance panel proposed $11.4 billion in total state spending, or $232.7 million less than the budget bill passed last year. About $4.13 billion of the new budget would come from general revenues, and another $408 million from lottery proceeds. Federal funding and block grants would provide $4 billion. Such special revenue sources as fees paid for licenses and permits would fund another $1.5 billion. The road funding portion of the budget totals $1.19 billion. The House Finance Committee also included $50 million from untapped surplus to ensure a balanced budget.

Lawmakers are crafting a spending plan amid faltering general revenues during the current budget year, and the rising costs of maintaining the state Medicaid program. Tomblin has yet to decide whether to expand Medicaid as called for by the federal health care overhaul.

1
Text Only
West Virginia
  • Attorney general reaches $950,000 settlement with three financial groups

    West Virginia’s attorney general has reached a $950,000 settlement with three companies over allegations of antitrust law violations.

    July 28, 2014

  • Woman convicted in teen’s slaying moved

    A Monongalia County teenager has been transferred to a state prison to complete her sentence for the slaying of another teenager.
    The Lakin Correctional Center near Point Pleasant said Friday Rachel Shoaf has been booked at the Division of Corrections prison. Shoaf turned 18 last month and had been held in a juvenile facility.

    July 26, 2014

  • Board suspends clinic operator’s license

    A West Virginia board Friday suspended the license of the operator of a pain management clinic where investigators found syringes were being reused. It was the second disciplinary action involving the doctor’s license within a decade.

    July 26, 2014

  • Candidates: Leave global warming debate to scientists

    Two West Virginia congressional hopefuls said during their first candidate forum matchup Thursday that the global warming debate is better left to scientists.
    Democrat Nick Casey and Republican Alex Mooney added that other countries should step up in reducing carbon emissions.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lawsuit filed over Dirty Girl Mud Run

    A lawsuit has been filed against the producers of a run that was canceled in Charleston in which participants were told they wouldn’t be issued refunds.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVa. man sues GM over wife's death

    A West Virginia man has filed a lawsuit against General Motors Corp., claiming a defective ignition switch in a Chevrolet Cobalt caused a 2006 accident that killed his pregnant wife.

    July 24, 2014

  • Feds commit to health studies on spilled chemical

    After largely dismissing the possibility of long-term health problems, federal officials will conduct more studies on chemicals that spilled into West Virginia’s largest drinking water supply in January.
    In the next two months, federal health officials are also heading back to West Virginia.

    July 24, 2014

  • Park Service assesses impact of W.Va. attractions

    Four National Park Service attractions in West Virginia drew a total of 1.5 million visitors last year.

    July 23, 2014

  • This weekend's 'Dirty Girl' race canceled

    Organizers of a Charleston running event that was canceled for this weekend says it won’t issue refunds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Reporter heard truck backfiring, not gunshot

    Similar sounds in different circumstances create different reactions. That is so for WVVA reporter Annie Moore, who last Monday told police someone fired a gun at her while she was shooting file footage in the area of a recent murder.

    July 19, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads