Beckley Register-Herald – In spite of budget cuts and using Rainy Day Funds, Secretary of Revenue Bob Kiss said Wednesday that the state is heading toward better days. Read
“Two years down the road we are anticipating a surplus,” Kiss said. “We are getting there.”
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s budget lacks $151 million between revenues and expenditures, numbers he plans to make up with a dip into the state’s Rainy Day Fund and $72 million in targeted budget cuts. Tomblin announced Tuesday that the state’s investments had better than expected returns of $44 million, reducing the amount he planned to take from the Rainy Day Fund to $24 million.
Kiss said those budget cuts are not permanent.
For now though, those targeted cuts will affect Primary Care Support, which is reduced $3.6 million, Health Right Free Clinics, reduced $2.1 million, and Local Economic Development Assistance, $1.9 million, according to West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy executive director Ted Boettner.
Boettner said Family Resource Networks, Domestic Violence Programs and Child Advocacy Centers will also see between 8.5 and 13.3 percent budget cuts this year.
Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, said a cigarette tax increase is the cure for the state’s budget ills.
“It would give us $50 to $60 million,” Kessler said. “It’s an easy one; it’s hard to argue with. Had we done that last year we wouldn’t have borrowed a dime out of the Rainy Day Fund.”
“I don’t know how you can cut yourself into prosperity,” he said.
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