CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said Thursday he didn’t want to cut funding to children and family programs in the new state budget but he had to draw the line somewhere.
The governor’s line-item veto decisions were overturned this week when members of the state legislature approved a funding bill that restored the cuts.
House and Senate members did so by taking the money out of the Licensed Racetrack Regular Purse Fund. Tomblin said he doesn’t have a problem with the funding source.
“As far as the main programs, if the bill is in order, I’ll sign off on those,” Tomblin said.
He said he didn’t want to make the cuts in the first place, but finances forced him to make some difficult decisions.
“The thing we don’t want to do is during this period of tight budgets is to saddle future generations with debt,” he explained.
That’s why Tomblin said he had to make cuts, not just to these programs, but all across the board.
“It’s very easy to say, ‘Well, it’s just another $5-million or $1-million.’ Those things add up down the road and our people have to pay for it,” explained Tomblin.
Dozens of people rallied at the state Capitol Tuesday demanding at least $750,000 be put back into their budgets for domestic violence and children programs. Lawmakers heard the lobby loud and clear.
Tomblin said Thursday he had no problem with the legislature dipping into a fund that wasn’t paid for by taxpayer dollars.
“I was pleased we were able to continue the programs and continue the services to the families and children of West Virginia.”