Officials Warn of Looming Budget Crisis

The Inter-Mountain - West Virginia is looking at a $300-$400 million budget deficit in fiscal year 2018, and state lawmakers must be ready to answer difficult questions about how to bridge the gap, officials with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy said. Read

After a special legislative session that cost $595,000, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed a budget for fiscal year 2017 that closed a $270 million gap through an increase in the tobacco tax, program cuts, money from agency accounts and $65 million from the state's savings.

These were mostly one-time measures, said Ted Boettner, executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy, who was in Elkins on Thursday. The next budget will be just as challenging, if not more so, he said.

"I think we've swept all of the accounts we can," he said. "We're going to have to find $350 million just to break even."

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