CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The House of Delegates late Friday adopted Senate changes to its version of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget bill, sending it to Gov. Jim Justice for his signature.
“This balanced budget controls government spending, lives within our means and prevents a government shutdown,” said House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha. “I strongly encourage Governor Justice to sign this bill and ease our citizens’ concerns.”
This is the second budget the Legislature has sent to Gov. Justice’s desk this year. The $4.225 billion state government spending plan features no tax increases for the General Revenue Fund, no cuts to the K-12 school aid formula and no cuts to the Medicaid healthcare waiver programs that benefit elderly or disabled residents. The budget also averts severe cuts to higher education institutions.
This budget spends roughly $85 million less than current fiscal year spending.
The House on Wednesday voted to amend its own version of the budget into Senate Bill 1013. The Senate on Friday made some additional changes to that plan and sent it back to the House.
Cuts to higher education institutions were rendered necessary by reductions in tax collections, particularly severance taxes in the energy industry, but this budget avoids the drastic 11-percent higher education cuts contained in the original Senate plan.
“Though this budget is much less than the Governor had originally proposed, it is balanced without saddling our hard-working citizens with a heavy new tax burden,” Speaker Armstead said. “More importantly, it represents the only viable pathway to avoid a government shutdown on July 1.
“I urge Governor Justice to sign this budget so we can ease our citizens’ fears, ensure government services continue without interruption, and avoid layoffs or furloughs of our state employees,” Speaker Armstead said.