Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 8, 2014

Gov. Tomblin budget taps reserves, keeps tax rates


Associated Press

CHARLESTON — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin hopes to keep tax rates level amid a budget shortfall by tapping West Virginia’s rainy day fund.

The Democrat wants lawmakers to use $148 million in reserves next year’s budget. Some $84 million would come from the state’s $918 million rainy day fund. The money would cover rising Medicaid costs.

West Virginia has dipped into the fund only during emergencies, never for budget patches.

Tomblin will seek 7.5 percent cuts at state agencies. The proposal shields areas like public education and corrections. Department of Revenue officials said no particular program or agency would be targeted for elimination. Agencies would determine cuts.

The proposal includes slight raises for teachers and state workers.

Tomblin will present his budget to lawmakers during Wednesday’s state of the state address.