Governor Justice Vetoes West Virginia Budget

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UPDATE 9:10 p.m.:

With the Governor’s veto announcement some republicans weren’t too pleased.

“This legislator was elected to take West Virginia in a new direction,” said Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns.

The 4.1 billion dollar budget was passed over the weekend by the West Virginia house and senate. The proposal did not include the governor’s request for an increase in gasoline, business and sales taxes. Which is part of the reason why Republicans believe he vetoed it, but all they want to do is control government spending.

“It’s a little bit disappointing,” Ferns told 7News reporter Nick Conigliaro. “The Governor has indicated only a willingness to raise taxes, so I’m not entirely surprised by his veto but I was hopeful that he’d be willing to sign, what I think, is a responsible, balanced budget.”

During the Governor’s veto announcement he used a prop to demonstrate his thoughts.

“What we have is noting more than a bunch of political bull you know what,” said Governor Justice while presenting bull feces.

Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns believes these antics make it difficult to take the Governor seriously and is just an interruption from the serious issues.

“I think everyone loses sight of what he’s trying to say to people of West Virginia and to the legislature. It’s a distraction and, like I said, I’d really just like to see him get more focused on the facts.”

Now with this veto there is going to be another special legislative session, but Ferns tells me it will be different this year because they have the numbers in both the House and Senate to call themselves into session and control what it is discussed. He believes the most important thing that needs to happen is tax reform.

“What people sometime forget, and what the Governor certainly forgets, is that when we raise taxes that money’s not coming out of thin air,” said Ferns. “That’s coming out of the pockets of everyday, hardworking West Virginians. The less money that’s in their pockets; the less they have to spend to stimulate the economy. So, it’s a lose-lose scenario.”

He went on to tell 7News they have to do something has to be changed in the state because what we’re doing now isn’t working.

Ferns is unsure at this time when the special session will begin. But when it does, we will surely bring you the coverage.


UPDATE 2:32 p.m.:

Governor Jim Justice has announced that he will veto the West Virginia Budget.

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Thursday afternoon in Charleston, Governor Jim Justice is expected to announce a major decision on the West Virginia budget. 

The governor has three choices: He can either sign the budget, veto it, or let it become law without its signature. 

The bill does not include the governor’s request for a 4 and a half cent gas tax increase to pay for road construction and maintenance.

He says it will create 48 thousand jobs. 

Organized labor wants a veto. 

“It is not a pro-growth agenda that they claim that it is. It actually hurts most West Virginians because it doesn’t invest back into the things that matter here in West Virginia. And that’s out infrastructure and education,” said Josh Sword of the West Virginia AFL-CIO.

If the budget is vetoed — Republicans are likely to again suggest expanding the state sales tax to those who don’t collect it now. 

“It broadens the base on taxation so that everyone is paying a fair share, and it also has a significant component of lowering the amount that people will pay individually,” said Republican Del. Tom Fast of Fayette County.

Most involved would like to avoid what happened last year, a three-week special session that cost taxpayers $600,000.

The governor’s budget decision will be announced at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Stay with 7News for complete coverage.

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