Yesterday, we took a look at the Senate’s version of the FY 2021 budget. Now the House has unveiled their version, and as in the Senate, there are a number of changes made from the governor’s proposal.
The House has three revenue bills that will reduce the General Revenue Fund by $6.1 million in FY 2021 if enacted. These bills include allowing counties to retain the state property transfer tax (HB 2967), reducing the severance tax on marginal oil and natural gas wells and redirecting revenue to the Oil and Gas Abandoned Well Plugging Fund (HB 4090), and creating a tax credit for donating cars (HB 4547).
The House has passed 2 bills that would increase spending in the FY 2021 budget. HB 4092 reforms the foster care system by creating a foster children’s bill of rights and a foster parents and kinship bill of rights, as well as increasing payment rates for child placement agencies at a cost of $16.8 million, while HB 4645 would create a Legislative Fiscal Office at a cost of $760,000.
The House also included spending increases for a number of programs throughout the budget above the governor’s recommendations, the largest of these being a $17.3 million increase for Medicaid, $2.6 million for the Department of Commerce, $880,000 for Education, $182,000 for Higher Education, and $500,000 for Senior Services.
Since the House reduced revenue by $6.1 million, and increased spending by $39.0 million, cuts are also made to the governor’s proposed budget to bring it to balance. These cuts include $10.5 million cut from the governor’s Jobs and Hope initiatives, $5 million from Tourism from the Department of Commerce, $3 million from the WVInvests Grant Program, and eliminating the governor’s Community Food Program.
The House budget will have to be reconciled with the Senate budget, with the differences ironed out and balanced, before being sent to the governor.
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