CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Leading lawmakers expressed concern Wednesday night after learning Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin proposed using nearly $84 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to help balance the budget next fiscal year.

The governor didn’t specifically mention the plan during his State of the State Address but it has been revealed in budget briefings. This will mark the first time money has been taken from the reserve fund to meet regular budget needs. In the past it has been used only to help pay for natural disasters.

“We’ve got to be very careful about it. I’m not sure that we need to really dip into that particular fund. I’ve got to look at that very seriously,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Roman Prezioso said.

The fund currently has a balance of more than $900 million. Tomblin administration officials said the $84 million is needed to cover the increasing cost of Medicaid.

Senate President Jeff Kessler appeared more open to the possibility as a “bridge the gap” method, though stipulating it must be repaid quickly.

“I don’t want to open it up and turn on the spigots and say, ‘Empty the pool,'” Kessler said.

House of Delegates Minority Leader Tim Armstead, who’s concerned about the proposal, contended there’s excess in the budget that can be cut to make up the difference.

“Before we start using the funds that we have reserved for crises and unexpected events in our state to fill budget holes, we really need to take our budget from step one and start looking at ways we can be more efficient,” Armstead said.

The House and Senate finance committees are expected to fully discuss the proposal in the coming weeks.

 

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Comments

  • cutty77

    900 mill. That ain't chump change. This money should be used for whatever makes life easier in WV. We are in a Mess Right now Money Wise because of what The President has done to WV cash cow COAL. Our leaders in This State have made us a Poor Dumb State,and its getting worse everyday. Its time to act.

  • Aaron

    Had the legislature been willing to use $45 million from the rainy day fund, they could have completed funding for Route 35. Instead they tried to toll the road, it failed and as a result, the state has spent nearly $60 million since on maintenance and upkeep over the past 3 years.

  • Paula

    420 volunteer fire depts in West Virginia an workers comp rising so high these depts can't afford to pay the high cost and it is a requiment per state law to keep the doors open, why not unload some of that fund to help keep these FIRE DEPT 'S OPEN !

  • Rich

    Tim Armstead has been in the House well over ten years. Instead of talking in general terms about where the state can find inefficiencies in the budget, he should be proposing specifics.

  • workerbee

    Jason, I can not speak for others but I can't move because my parents are elderly and I need to be here for them. I did move here from SC. I would like to move out of state but am not able at this time.

  • workerbee

    The Rainy Day Fund would not exist if workers had not earned Federal incentives for the low error rates on food stamp and Medcaid cases. Let's see what happens when the error rate goes up this year due to our substantially increased caseloads because of ObamaCare.

  • ron "from morgantown"

    Take the money out and start paying state employees like teachers , state police , division of highway employees , DHHR, correction officers , and others so they can live meaningful lives with respect and dignity . A livable wage - what a concept ! Do you realize an entry level employee with the DHHR qualifies for welfare ? Its time we bring economic justice to the hard working public workers of West Virginia.

    • Aaron

      What exactly would you describe as economic justice and where do you propose we get the funds to pay for this justice Ron?

    • Jason412

      Ron, can you link me to anything saying a DHHR employee is eligible for welfare.

      For food stamps, the requirement is 130% or less of Federal Poverty Line. That's $1,245 a month for a single person household. I find it VERY VERY hard to believe that ANY DHHR

      • The truth

        Many DHHR employees are single mothers. You would be surprised how many are eligible for assistance. Kinda sad.

        • Aaron

          Aren't they in the situation they are in because of their own actions?

      • Jason412

        (woops hit enter to soon)

        Anyways, Ill skip saying I find it hard to believe and just say I don't believe any entry level DHHR employee is making $14,940 a year or less. Most of the salary information I can find puts them at least above $20,000 a year.

        • workerbee

          go to State of WV Division of Personnel and the starting salary is the salary workers stay at unless the Governor grants us a raise. OR go to to the Treasurer's page and all State Employee salaries are public knowledge including the Governor.

          • Aaron

            Most private businesses I know don't run as inefficiently as our state government does. Perhaps if the state wasn't paying so many people to do repetitive work, they could pay them more.

          • The truth

            Jason, most people do leave. Many state jobs have 30% turnover every year. Plus your baby boomers are leaving as fast as they can. No private business could run this way.

          • The truth

            DOP pay scale is BS. Unless your a political hack you will always be at the bottom.

          • workerbee

            the FPL limits, Jason, are on the FDA website. Just to get you started the FPL for household of 4 is $2552.00 per month. SO that would be a big fat YES

          • Jason412

            Is that starting salary less then the Federal Poverty Guideline?

            Either way, if people hate their job so much and are getting paid so little find another job or move to a different state and be a state employee there.

        • Jason412

          This is from an article on this site

          http://wvmetronews.com/2013/04/22/state-dhhr-beset-by-challenges/

          "Additionally, the entry level salaries are low for those who have some of the toughest jobs, like child protective service workers. They start at about $31,000"

          Definitely not eligible for welfare.

          • The truth

            CPS starts out about ten thousand more than most DHHR workers. The reason for this DHHR was facing a court order because they could not keep COS workers.