West Virginia Senate waits to pass budget

West Virginia Headlines

Senators gathered Monday after the West Virginia House of Delegates passed its budget on Saturday. 

But, Senators are now looking at both budgets, so they delayed a vote by one day so lawmakers could better examine the differences in the bills.

Right now the Senate version does not include a five-percent pay raise for teachers, but the House bill does.

“Here we are in the last week without any resolution of something that was promised to the teachers by the Governor seven or eight months ago,” said Delegate Bill Hartman (D-Randolph).

“The Senate’s budget actually contemplated for State Police, and it also contemplated for all state employees, and that equates to the people that didn’t walkout on strike,” said Finance Committee Chairman, Senator Craig Blair (R-Berkeley). 

The Senate bill does not yet contain a cut in the coal severance tax that the House provided, which could cost the state $30 million dollars a year in revenue. It’s future remains uncertain.

“I’m still not sure that’s actually going to happen. I think we’re still going to take that up in the Senate, in Finance today or tomorrow,” said Senate Minority Whip Corey Palumbo (D-Kanawha). “And I think it remains to be seen what’s going to happen.” 

However, the Senate included $110 million to fix secondary roads, which is something the House has not agreed to do.

“We make improvements to the drainage systems on our highways. Get rid of the water hazards that occur when we have rainfall events, but more importantly make sure that when we put asphalt down on the roadways, we’re able to sustain those systems for a long period of time,” explained Senator Greg Boso (R-Nicholas). 

The clock is running. This session ends at midnight Saturday.

On Tuesday the Senate can consider it’s own budget, or it could consider the House bill. There are also reports members of both chambers are having informal discussions on working out the differences in their two budgets. 

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