CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State leaders may take between $200 million and $220 million from the Rainy Day Fund to fill budget holes for the current fiscal year along with the next fiscal year which begins on July 1.

Members of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s Administration, including state Tax and Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss, met behind closed doors with Senate President Jeff Kessler (D-Marshall, 2), House Speaker Tim Miley (D-Harrison, 48) and other legislative leaders on Wednesday at the State Capitol to talk about the budget problems.

“The talk centered around how far into the Rainy Day Fund we dip to balance the budget,” said Miley on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

By taking a larger amount from the Rainy Day Fund, “(We would) Not dip into the highway fund, not take much — if any — from the lottery funds, but move the manner in which those funds are dispersed.”  That movement, Miley said, would help keep the state’s bond rating intact because the rating is based on a ratio determined by what the state has in reserve compared with the entire $4.7 billion budget.

Miley said, on Wednesday, the state leaders also discussed the possibility of raising the cigarette tax to generate new revenues, but no consensus was reached on that proposal.  Currently, the state tax on a pack of cigarettes is 55 cents.  At least one bill pending at the State House would take that state tax to $1.55 per pack.

In his State of the State Address, Tomblin had proposed taking $89 million from the Rainy Day Fund to plug the budget holes in addition to sweeping a number of state accounts — including those for the road fund and lottery — for another more than $60 million.

Earlier this week, members of the Senate Transportation Committee rejected the proposal to take $13 million from the road fund which pays for road construction and maintenance.  City and county leaders have also pushed back against the proposal to raid the lottery revenues they normally receive.

The Rainy Day Fund currently contains $920 million and, up to now, has not been used to pay for regular state expenses.

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Comments

  • Lee

    Take part of it and fill other holes, particularly potholes. The roads are horrible.

  • WheelingFeeling

    I bet teachers will still get their pay increase!!

  • JTF

    So what is creating the holes in the budget on the revenue side?

    What is causing those holes?
    Gambling revenue dropping? The Lottery commission established a fund years ago in case of that evenuality. How much is in there?

    Revenue related to coal mining?
    So why are we mining less coal if the U.S. economy is going gangbusters as the Obama administration tells us it is?

    Income tax collections?
    But the number of unemployed is steadily dropping. Washington tells me so.

    And what is creating holes on the expenditure side?

    Is Medicaid expansion (due to ObamaCare) one of the causes for this or future budgets?
    Please say it ain't so.

  • The bookman

    Look how easy it is to spend 20-25% of the Rainy Day Fund when you move beyond the initial stage of deciding to use those funds for regular budget expenditures. The argument is no longer if we are going to spend it, but how much can we take and still keep our current bond rating. Our government in action, working on our behalf. Sleep with one eye open from here on out as here come new taxes to offset these one time monies.

  • SMOKEHOLE

    It's like watching the keystone cops balance a checkbook.

    Only it's not there checkbook.

    Miley is proving himself to be no friend of any West Virginians I know.

    Just another tax and spend your money liberal...

  • Frank

    Courage....wish we could find a little more of it in our elected officials. Have you really looked at the expense side of the ledger and determined it to all be necessary? Though you keep giving away healthcare at the behest of the federal government, you cannot find the courage to raise taxes on cigarettes which clearly contribute to health problems. Can you find the courage to implement some incentives for people to work? Can you find the courage to put tolls in place in other parts of the state for roads that people in southern West VIrginia have suffered under for decades?