Latest Budget Bill Makes More Cuts, Revenue Still Needed from Legislature
Now with HB 115, we can see what the governor's plan is once there is some revenue agreement with the legislature. Total General Revenue spending in HB 115 totals $4.35 billion, which is $155.7 million below the governor's original proposal. The latest revenue projections show available General Revenue funds for FY 2018 to be $4.09 billion, which means that the legislature would need to raise about $260 million in new revenue for this budget proposal to be balanced. Current revenue proposals fall far short of that mark, and create bigger budget problems in the future.
Here are a list of major changes in HB 115 from the Governor's original proposal:
- The Save our State Fund in the Department of Commerce is reduced from $105.5 million to $15 million. Other cuts to the Department of Commerce total $629,448.
- In the Department of Education, $1 million is cut from 21st Century Assessment and Professional Development. The "smoothing" of payments to the Teacher's Retirement System's unfunded liability is also included, saving $44.7 million.
- Funding for the Education Broadcasting Authority is restored, but still cut by $85,813 from FY 2017 level. Other cuts in the Department of Education and the Arts total $493,403 below the governor's original proposal.
- In DHHR, funding for the Center for End of Life, Office of Healthy Lifestyles, Osteoporosis and Arthritis Prevention, and the Tobacco Education Program are eliminated, while General Revenue Funding for Medicaid is cut by $9.9 million below the governor's original proposal.
- The Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety is cut by $5.1 million below the governor's original proposal, including $3.8 million cut from the Division of Corrections.
- Community and Technical Colleges are cut by $1.3 million below the governor's proposal.
- Funding for HEPC and 4 year colleges and universities is cut by $5.4 million below the governor's original proposal, while $1.6 million in funding is restored for WVNET. Overall funding for Higher Education would be $13.8 million below FY 2017 funding levels.
- Cuts in other areas of the budget, including DEP, Department of Revenue, and Executive Branch agencies, total $1.4 million.
There was only one change from the governor's proposal in the Excess Lottery Fund. Excess Lottery funding for Medicaid was increased by $5.4 million above the governor's proposal, offsetting some of the General Revenue cuts.