WV State Budget Process Tries to Stretch More Out of Less

The State Journal - The Fiscal Year 2016 budget process is the first, at least in the governor's memory, where he started with a smaller budget than the previous year. Read

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said he knew going into the New Year the new budget would come with some difficult choices.

"The thing of it is, you've got to be responsible," he said. "We've made some tough decisions here, where we've had to make cuts."

Fiscal Year 2016's base budget is $39 million less than Fiscal Year 2015's base budget. But with the state's Workers' Compensation unfunded liability expected to be paid of by the end of the 2016 budget cycle, and a strong savings account, if the state can get through another difficult year, state officials predict improvements just over the horizon.

Tomblin said he had a few ways to approach closing the budget gap: increasing taxes or taking more from the Rainy Day Fund, which is a state reserve fund started to allow the governor to borrow funds when revenues are inadequate to make payments.

According to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, two proposals could have prolonged the amount of time needed to pay off Workers' Compensation debt by reducing the amount of severance tax revenue.

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