CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The finance committees in the House of Delegates and state Senate passed their own versions of the budget bill Tuesday and the committees differ on how much money to take out of the state’s Rainy Day Fun to balance next fiscal year’s spending plan.
The House bill sticks with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s plan to take nearly $84 million from the fund but the Senate version takes $125 million from Rainy Day.
The Rainy Day Fund currently has a balance of $920 million and some fear taking too much out would hurt the state’s bond rating. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Roman Prezioso told committee members he believes they are okay for this year. He said what gives him the most concern is having to go back into the fund next year.
“When we start getting in around this amount and next year around 220 or 225 (million dollars) the bond rating is going to be in jeopardy,” Prezioso predicted.
Next year may be the year for tax increases according to the chairman.
“We may well be advised to look at some revenue enhancements or restructuring our tax structures to come up with some additional dollars,” he said. “I’m confident we’ll get through this year but next year may be our toughest year.”
The Senate and House will pass different versions of the budget bill and then iron out the differences in next week’s extended legislative session.