The funding levels for West Virginia fairs and festivals in the next state budget remain a question mark.
State agencies have cut their budget requests by 7.5 percent after hearing from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. That includes the state Division of Culture and History, which is the agency that handles the funding for fairs and festivals.
Culture and History Commissioner Randall Reid Smith was back before the House of Delegates Finance Committee Monday to explain the reworking of a previous proposal that cut some fairs and festivals by 14 percent or more.
The new look plan gives state lawmakers two options.
“One is just a 14 percent cut overall and the other is a 14 percent cut with only a 7-point-5 percent cut in fairs and festivals,” Reid Smith said.
If fairs and festivals are cut 7.5 percent Reid Smith said the rest of the cuts would have to be made up in Culture and History programs like the annual Vandalia Gathering.
House Finance Committee Chairman Harry Keith White told committee members he’s working with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Roman Prezioso to find a solution.
State lawmakers have been very protective of fairs and festivals funding over the years. Chairman White raised a red flag on Culture and History’s budget cuts on March 14. State Secretary of Education and the Arts Kay Goodwin told him her department did not make across-the-board cuts.
“No,” White said. “It looks like you’ve taken most of your legislators (line items) and cut by 14 percent,” he said.
Lawmakers will be coming out with a proposed state budget before the end of the session. It will be worked on the week after the 60-day regular session comes to a close.