Gazette editorial: An $847 Million Crisis
Charleston Gazette-Mail - So far in the 2016 session, conservative legislators have wasted most of their time on gay-hating, pistol-carrying and other far-right topics, while doing little about West Virginia's partly self-induced financial crisis. Read
Thanks mostly to huge business tax cuts in the past, plus decline of the coal industry, the state government lacks $381 million for a balanced budget in the current fiscal year that ends June 30, plus another $466 million shortage projected for the next fiscal year.
By law, the state must have a balanced budget each year, but it's difficult to see how $847 million in gaps can be closed under current conditions. In his State of the State address, Gov. Tomblin requested a 45-cent increase in the state's cigarette tax, and new taxes on phone service.