CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Senate Finance Committee Chairman Roman Prezioso said Thursday plans to take $125 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to balance next year’s state budget would be reduced if the Lottery proceeds bill is approved.

Prezioso told fellow senators before they voted on the Senate’s version of the budget bill that the Lottery bill is still being worked on in his committee. The measure, HB 4333, which has already passed the House, would redistribute lottery proceeds that currently go to a number of areas including thoroughbred and greyhound breeders. It’s proposed the breeders allocations would be cut by double-digits.

Prezioso said if the bill doesn’t pass by Saturday night’s regular session deadline, the Senate plans to take the $125 million out of the Rainy Day Fund. Prezioso said unfortunately it looks like the Rainy Day Fund will also have to be used in the 2015-2016 budget also.

“If there are not any revenue enhancements (tax increases) and we have to continue down the road with the Rainy Day Fund it will truly jeopardize our bond ratings, which has severe implications not only for the state but for cities and counties,” Prezioso said.

The House of Delegates is scheduled to pass its own version of the budget bill Friday. The House agrees with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and takes approximately $84 million from the Rainy Day Fund to balance next year’s budget.

The House and Senate will get together in next week’s extended session to come up with a compromise spending plan.

 

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  • BH

    This sets a terrible precedent. You can kiss the "rainy day fund" good bye.

  • Brian

    Government is the only entity regardless of its financial health that gives itself raises through taxes. Balanced budgets are a must but legislators need to be like the rest of us and cut costs when it can't afford it. Cut the social bs programs and invest in job creation, not your next group of jobless welfare voter base. Sorry you can't have a new truck when you're running behind on the water bill.

  • Gordon

    For well over 50 years we have been pouring money toward problems. We are still in the bottom 5 in everything versus other states. More spending isn't the answer!

    They say they are afraid of our state credit rating may be lowered if they dip into the rainy day fund but not enough to quit spending it. I am tired of new taxes or hiking up the ones already here.

    This is an election year.
    If the person running isn't talking REAL spending cuts then please consider voting for someone that is. Regardless of party.

    Yeah, budget cuts hurts some.
    But so does tax increases hurts all.

  • Independent View

    Insightful comments "Bookman", please continue.
    Also, I'm trying to get my mind wrapped around
    "TaxesAren'tAllEvil" insightful comments too.
    Lets see, the majority party, led by their governor(s) cut taxes by hundreds of millions and that certainly helped Manchin and Tomblin get elected and now the majority party, true to form, refuse to raise revenue to avoid a major budget shortfall in an election year and then chose to raid the rainy day fund to help them get reelected.
    Make perfect sense--to an idiot or a legislator of the majority party.

  • Aaron

    Next year is a non-election year. As such, our non-leaders with have non-problems raising taxes, to not only cover budget shortfalls but to make up for all they missed out on this year.

  • Over taxed

    Will someone please explain the shortfall? To take $100+ Million just because we have a rainy day fund is kicking the can down the road . When will someone challenge the leaders to explain the shortage of tax revenue vs spending?

    • TaxesAren'tAllEvil

      The biggest reason is that the state has cut taxes to the tune of over $400 million over the past decade. I'll leave the argument whether this was good or bad to someone else but now the state does not have enough cash to do what it wants/needs to do.

      • The bookman

        We may have adjusted tax collections down $400M on certain areas, but overall revenue collection to the state has increased $1.2B over the last decade. Revenues have increased over 30% since 2001-2002 Fiscal Year. We don't have a revenue problem. We have an allocation of revenue problem. The problem, however, is that spending cuts done properly take time to consider and implement. Because the legislature had no plan to deal with the shortfall, other than the Rainy Day Fund, cuts to spending were not available this session. That is why I suggested a broad based, everyone shares in the failure, sales tax increase to make up the gap this year and next, and sunset the increase for the 2016-2017 budget. Force the legislature in the next election cycle to be responsible and choose an intelligent path with our budget instead of this election year pandering for votes that have us in our current situation.

    • The bookman

      We get to send a message to our party on May 13th, and then a message to the legislature on November 4th. Don't get distracted by the side issues in the campaigns. It's Spending vs Revenue. After the election, all bets are off on tax increases, so we better have some adults in charge when it's time to make the tough calls.