CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After several weeks of wrangling, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and legislative leaders have reached an agreement on how much money to take from the AG’s Consumer Protection Fund to help balance the state budget.
The spending plan, expected to be approved by lawmakers Friday, will include $9 million of the fund that currently has a balance of $19 million.
“I am pleased to announce that the Office of the Attorney General will be returning $9 million from the Consumer Protection Fund to the Legislature to help balance the state’s budget and assist senior citizens and people with disabilities,” Morrisey said in a prepared release. “Through our actions, we anticipate many West Virginians will be taken off of the Medicaid Aged and Disabled Waiver Program waiting list and receive the health care they need at home.”
House and Senate leaders were at odds during the regular session on how much to take from the fund. The Senate proposed $5 million but the House $12 million. The fund is used to finance the operations of the Consumer Protection Division along with reimbursements to state residents who have been wronged.
Attorney General Morrisey said during difficult economic times every office must do its part. He said he’s hopeful the $9 million will mean less has to be taken from the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
“This agreement is consistent with my pledge when I was running for office to return settlement moneys to the Legislature for appropriation, while simultaneously ensuring the Consumer Protection Division is properly funded,” Morrisey said. “Since coming into office in 2013, I have initiated the return of approximately $16.5 million settlement monies back to the Legislature.”
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will make the final call on the state budget. He does have line-item veto power.