Budget battle, and tax-cut fights loom at West Virginia Capitol

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – As the annual legislative session winds down at the capitol, there is going to be a fight over the budget.

The House Finance Committee has approved $18 million in budget cuts at West Virginia University and another $10 million in cuts from Marshall University.

“There’s some questions in there. I can’t fathom why we continue to cut in higher education. Big cuts to WVU and Marshall, our two economic drivers for our state and we continue to cut and make it harder for them, and make it more expensive for kids to go to college,” said Del. Doug Skaff, (D) Kanawha, Minority Leader.

But Republican leaders promise to replace those funds if the state has surplus revenue as the governor suggests. We’ll know if there is a surplus when the fiscal year ends on June 30th.

“We put monies that go to WVU and to Marshall in the back of the budget so that supplementals will take care of them, basically just right after the first of July,” said Del. Vernon Criss, (R) Wood – Finance Vice-Chairman.

Among the items not likely to get passed this year, is legal recreational marijuana for adults.

“No, not this year. Not this year,” said Criss.

“All the states around us are embracing it. They’re bringing it in. They’re using it as a big revenue source to balance their budgets,” said Skaff.

Other bills unlikely to make it, the Equal Pay Act for Women, and a tax credit for nurses during COVID-19.

Wednesday is what’s known as ‘Crossover Day’ here at the Capitol. Any bill must have at least passed the House or the Senate by the close of business on Wednesday, or it is dead for the year.

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