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Senate passes budget that leans heavily on Rainy Day Fund

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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