CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It’s less than three weeks until the end of the 60-day regular legislative session but Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin didn’t appear panicked Tuesday when asked about his struggling budget proposals.

The governor wants lawmakers to move $39 million in state Lottery subsidies and $13 million from the state Road Fund to the general revenue fund to help balance the budget in a tight budget year but neither proposal currently has the momentum necessary to pass.

The Lottery money has gone to cities, counties and racing groups for years. They have cried foul about the proposed 15 percent cuts. Meanwhile, the Senate Transportation Committee defeated the Road Fund transfer in its meeting Tuesday.

Gov. Tomblin spent most of his political life in the state legislature so he knows, maybe better than anyone in West Virginia, how the process works. He said he’s not pushing the panic button.

“I’ve been around this process for a long time. As a former (Senate) finance chair during tough times back in the 80s we had to make some tough decisions and this year is no exception to that,” Tomblin said Tuesday.

The governor has already proposed taking $84 million out of the state’s Rainy Day Fund to help the struggling budget. He waved a caution flag Tuesday when asked if he would favor going deeper into the reserve fund because his other money moving plans are struggling.

“When you dig too deep into it and you get below that area where the Wall Street people recommend you be, you run the risk of having a bond downgrade,” he said.

Tomblin said raising taxes has been mentioned. An increase in the tobacco tax is one he’s heard rumblings about. But he said he’s not sure in an election year if even that type of tax would get enough votes.

With the regular session set to end March 8 followed by a week-long budget session, the governor said there’s time for a compromise to be worked out.

“As in any other budget it takes some give and take. There’s a difference in opinion but we’ll work out those differences,” Tomblin said.

 

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Comments

  • martinsburg resident

    If WV didn't fall in lock step with ObamaCare & expand Medicaid, maybe WV wouldn't be in such a mess right now with meeting revenue numbers... Socialism does not work! Who decided to Expand Medicaid anyhow?

  • Ed R.

    Take away $13 million from the state Road Fund!

    No way, drain the pork money for his families greyhound racing biz.

  • WheelingFeeling

    And teachers will still pay increases or cry about it when they don't.

  • SMOKEHOLE

    Ray has made a living sucking money out of the state..

    Now there is no one to get the money from...

  • Brian

    I totally support a balanced budget 100%! That said, it is the JOB of our elected officials to make HARD decisions that MAKE SENSE. Tall order for politicians I realize but I have never understood some of the thinking on WV taxes. Tobacco to pay for general revenue expenses? Soda pop tax to pay for education? It makes no sense. If education needs money, tax those with children who are being educated. Singles and seniors without children (i.e., no return for their tax) have long paid for them in the big pool of taxes but is it really fair? I think not. It's as valid reasoning as taxing car races to pay used for landscaping on public grounds - it makes no sense!

  • Ronin

    Simple answer: pass the medical cannabis bill currently in the House, then go one step further and legalize cannabis for recreational possession and use by 18 and older (old enough to fight and die is old enough to drink and smoke).

    Colorado has millions they can use for roads, schools, and infrastructure, as they are saving hundreds of thousands on law enforcement, court and detention costs. West Virginia could again become a leader in education and medical research, coal companies could stop blowing up mountains as the tourist industry boomed (a truly renewable resource, unlike coal or mountains), WV families could stop leaving to go west to find help for their children with seizures, and WV law enforcement could turn their attentions to arresting the narcotics dealers and meth cookers.

    Yes, the religious right will scream, and the for-profit prisons and rehab centers (which cost America all of the millions they were supposed to save) will suffer, but there will be new jobs for West Virginians, and the influx of REAL criminals will ensure full capacity for the prisons and rehab centers.

    • Pullyourheadout

      This is the obvious choice. Unfortunately our state government doesn't have a history of....well....making history. Unless of course you talk about being one of the poorest states and having a mass population exodus. I wish that someone in state government would finally make a courageous decision and move forward with legalizing marijuana in WV. Washington has come out in support of the states that have legalized and it's a matter of time before we have national reform. For the love of God, let's be ahead of the curve for once instead of being twenty years behind progress.

    • WheelingFeeling

      It's not like LE has time to deal with weed smokers anyway. If they are going to smoke it and have no consequences then I say legalize it.

    • Jeff

      +10

    • Hillbilly

      Do you think law enforcement will be busier handling DUI's with people driving stoned? Colorado and Washington state have not had it legal long enough to determine if that caused any other problems yet.

  • Aaron

    They want to take money out of the road fund after sending out a blue ribbon commission telling citizens that they have to raise taxes because infrastructure is so bad and we have no money.

    Yeah, that makes sense.

  • Earl Ray

    What there isn't time for is getting my roots dyed, as you can clearly see in the photo.

  • PMQ

    No worries here! Earl Ray Fumbling is in charge!

    • Earl Ray

      You just wait, once my cracker is up and running, and creating thousands of new jobs, you're gonna have a whole new respect for me then.

      • Ed R.

        LOL

        Earl ray takes credit for the shale gas boom! Laughable!

      • PMQ

        Tick tock....tick tock.....