With Governor Tomblin’s proclamation extending the legislative session for three days to work on the budget, it is highly unlikely the FY 2017 will be passed before the end of the regular session on Saturday. Both the House and the Senate have moved their versions of the budget bill, with the Senate passing its version yesterday, and the House likely to pass its version today.
The House and the Senate budget bills have some major differences that probably won’t be ironed out before the end of the session, making an extension necessary. The chief difference between the two goes back to Governor Tomblin’s original proposal. The Senate’s budget includes a number of new tax revenues, including the tobacco tax, that were part of the governor’s proposal, but were never passed. That means the Senate’s budget would only be balanced if those new revenue bills were also passed with it.
The House’s budget does not include those revenues, and instead is balanced by borrowing about $30 million from the Rainy Day Fund and sweeping $78 million from various agency accounts. That revenue is then transferred to the Medicaid Trust Fund, which lowers the amount of General Revenue appropriations for Medicaid, allowing the base budget to be “balanced.” The House budget also contains additional cuts above the governor’s proposed cuts.
Both the House and Senate Budgets can be compared line-by-line to the governor’s proposal with these spreadsheets:
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