HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 149
(By Delegates White, Reynolds, Williams, Perdue, Anderson, Nelson, Skaff, Evans, A., Guthrie, Gearheart, Pethtel, Storch, Phillips, L., Moye, Andes, Poling, D., Canterbury, Miller, Craig, Walters, Cowles, Phillips, R., Ashley, Iaquinta and Marshall)
(Originating in the Committee on Finance)
[April 10, 2013]
Requesting the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to study the proposals of the executive department of this state for the disposition of general revenue surplus revenues and earnings accruing on moneys held in reserve.
Whereas, Legislative enactments have for a number of years dedicated up to one-half of any surplus revenues in the General Revenue Fund of the State that may exist at the end of a fiscal year to the State’s Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund, popularly known as “Rainy Day A;” and
Whereas, Those enactments have afforded the Legislature the flexibility to use the balance of those surplus revenues to exercise its discretion in the discharge of its constitutional duty to appropriate the general revenues of this state for the benefit of its citizens; and
Whereas, Legislative enactments direct that earnings continue to accrue until 2025 on the moneys of the Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund - Part B, popularly known as “Rainy Day B,” to increase its principal in order that, beginning in 2025, its earnings will provide significant funding for medical programs of the state; and
Whereas, The Governor has introduced legislation that would eliminate the Legislature’s discretion over the use of the balance of surplus revenues in the appropriations process and the accompanying flexibility to apply those funds where they are most needed as dictated by the needs of the citizens of this state under circumstances that arise when those surplus revenues become available and, instead, immediately and permanently restrict the expenditure of the surplus revenues for two purpose selected by the Governor; and
Whereas, The Governor’s proposed legislation would also dismantle the Legislature’s savings plan and, instead, immediately and permanently restrict the expenditure of the Rainy Day B earnings for a sole purpose selected by the Governor; and
Whereas, The Governor has introduced legislation that proposes findings that the State of West Virginia has suffered a revenue shortfall of approximately $49 million as compared to revenue estimates; that current economic and fiscal trends will result in projected year-end revenue deficits, including projected shortfalls in Business and Occupation Tax, Severance Tax and Interest Income; that projected year-end revenue surpluses in various other General Revenue sources will only offset a small portion of these deficits; and that on March 19, 2013, the Governor issued a memorandum to cabinet secretaries implementing temporary restrictions on general revenue funded hiring to help reduce expenditures and close the anticipated budget gap in fiscal year 2013; and
Whereas, It now appears unlikely that there will be any significant amount of surplus revenues in the General Revenue Fund of the State at the end of fiscal year 2013 available for dispositon, and that, therefore, sufficient time is available to the Legislature to engage in deliberative consideration of the Governor’s proposals in relation to the highest and best exercise of the constitutional responsibilities vested in the Legislature; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance is hereby requested to study the proposals made in House Bill No. 2509 and Senate Bill No. 191, both introduced during the regular session of the Legislature, 2013, at the request of the executive; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the committee report to the regular session of the Legislature, 2014, on its findings, conclusions and recommendations, together with drafts of any legislation necessary to effectuate its recommendations; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the expenses necessary to conduct this study, to prepare a report and to draft necessary legislation be paid from legislative appropriations to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.