Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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March 14, 2014

W.Va. lawmakers pass budget relying on reserves

CHARLESTON — West Virginia lawmakers have passed a budget that dips into millions of dollars in reserves and gives public employees raises.

The Senate voted 25-9 and the House of Delegates voted 77-18 Friday to pass next year’s budget. The bill would take $147 million from the state’s $922 million Rainy Day Fund to cover a projected shortfall.

The plan includes $1,000 across-the-board raises for teachers, 2-percent raises for school service personnel and $504 raises for public employees.

House lawmakers, who face re-election this year, opposed increasing the cigarette or sales taxes.

The budget adds $5 million for a Medicaid program that offers seniors in-home care. It also strips $9 million from the attorney general’s consumer protection program.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will now consider line-by-line vetoes in the spending plan.

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