Budget bill completes legislation, sent to Gov. Justice for consideration

The West Virginia Legislative session has officially ended as the House of Delegates and the Senate adjourned Sine Die on Sunday.

The end of session comes after Gov. Jim Justice extended session one day to further discuss the budget bill, House Bill 2018.

HB 2018 has been discussed and highly debated since being filed for introduction on Feb. 8 in the House of Delegates, as noted on the West Virginia Legislature website.

House Speaker Tim Armstead issued a press release Sunday encouraging Justice to sign the budget and agree with its terms.

“The Governor needs to accept the reality that his tax increase proposals simply do not have the support of the vast majority of elected representatives in the Legislature,” Armstead said in his release.

Armstead’s press release also summarizes the budget bill and what it would include if the governor signs HB 2018.

According to the release, there will be no tax increases if HB 2018 is enacted.

With HB 2018 not implementing tax increases, the tax increases included in Justice’s original proposed budget would not be enforced.

There will also be “an 8-percent cut to Marshall and West Virginia universities, and 4-percent cuts to all other state higher education institutions,” according to Armstead’s release.

The release also outlines how there will be up to $90 million utilized from West Virginia’s Rainy Day Fund if needed.

If Justice signs HB 2018, the bill would also include General Revenue spending of a total of $4.1 billion, according to the release.

The West Virginia Legislature website shows the official roll call of the bill, noting its passage in the Senate with a 22-12 vote.

According to the release, Armstead encouraged Justice to sign the budget as he notes the tax increases Justice proposed were not supported by the majority in the legislature.

Prior to the passage of HB 2018, Justice held a press conference and said he and the Legislature were “on the cusp of passing budget that will put WV on path to prosperity,” he said in his conference and Twitter. 

The Bill Status feature on the West Virginia Legislature website notes after the House voted to concur with an amendment made by the Senate, HB 2018 completed legislation.

The budget bill has since been sent to the governor’s desk for consideration.

Kylee Hurley can be contacted at [email protected]