W.Va. Legislature releases its budget proposal

West Virginia Senate President Mitch Carmichael and House Speaker Tim Armstead released the Legislature’s budget proposal Monday after much anticipation from Gov. Jim Justice.

Carmichael and Armstead posted a news release detailing their proposal and what it intends to do to help the West Virginia budget deficit.

In the press release, Carmichael and Armstead voiced their concern on the governor’s proposal.

The president and the speaker note in the release how the governor’s proposal will gain $4.05 billion, while spending $4.5 billion.

Armstead and Carmichael said in their release “the budget should be based on what the government expects to collect from its people, rather than asking them to pay additional taxes to fuel more spending.”

The press release also outlines some of the changes the Legislature is proposing to be made to Justice’s original bill.

Some of the changes noted are the “elimination of the ‘Save Our State’ fund, saving $105.5 million,” “not including Gov. Justice’s proposed 2-percent teacher pay increase, saving $21 million” and “foregoing Gov. Justice’s $5.6 million tourism advertising increase,” among others outlined in the release.

“We fully intend to have this budget passed and onto the Governor’s desk before our 60-day session ends April 8,” Carmichael said in the release.

Justice took to his Twitter account after the legislature proposal for the budget.

“The @wvlegislature budget proposed today just kicks the can down the road and won’t fix anything,” Justice said in a post on his Twitter account.

He continued voicing his thoughts on the budget on Tuesday.

“The GOP budget proposal will leave us upside down. It’s not a long term solution,” Justice said in his post on Twitter.

Justice has previously made comments on how he does not want the Legislature going into special session to resolve the budget.

The Legislature has officially reached the halfway point and has since also met the thirty-fifth day mark.

According to the 2017 Legislative Calendar found on the West Virginia Legislature website, the thirty-fifth day, which is March 14, is the “last day to introduce bills in the House.”

The calendar also notes the forty-first day, March 20, will be the “last day to introduce bills in the Senate.”

Also found on the legislative calendar, the final day of regular session will be Saturday, April 8.

Kylee Hurley can be contacted at [email protected]