UPDATE: Gov. Justice clarifies executive order related to state budget

West Virginia

UPDATE (6/30/20 6:17 p.m.):

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The governor’s office has issued a clarification to Executive Order 48-20, which can be seen below.

The State of West Virginia will close Fiscal Year 2020 with no budget cuts, according to the governor’s office.

Executive Order 48-20 orders the Department of Health and Human Resources, The Department of Education, the Department of Commerce and the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety* to effect a spending authority reduction of their general revenue appropriations for FY 2020 by the following amounts:

  • Department of Health and Human Resources: by a minimum of $186 million
  • Department of Education: by a minimum of $2 million
  • Department of Commerce: by a minimum of $1 million
  • Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety: by a minimum of $9 million.

DHHR’s $186 million general revenue spending authority reduction was offset by $186 million of funding from other sources, including the increased federal Medicaid match rate, which is a part of the CARES Act, a press release explains. There was no reduction in Medicaid services or programs.

The other spending authority reductions of $12 million were attributable to funds that were set to expire at the close of the fiscal year, the release states. These reductions are for money included in the FY 2020 budget that was unspent by each agency, which would have expired on June 30, the end of FY 2020.

The full executive order can be read here.

*On May 28, 2020, the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety became the Department of Homeland Security after the passage of Senate Bill 586 during the 2020 Legislation Session. However, in the FY 2020 Budget Bill, the agency was titled “Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety” because SB 586 had not yet gone into effect.

ORIGINAL STORY (6/30/20 4:55 p.m.):

Gov. Jim Justice has issued a trio of executive orders affecting the state budget and casinos.

A press release from the governor’s office provides summaries of each of the orders.

Executive Order 46-20: As a result of casinos being ordered closed March 18–June 5 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this order suspends the regulatory statute requiring that racetrack table game licensees pay the West Virginia Lottery Commission as part of their application for renewal by July 1, 2020, extending the due date until October 1.

Executive Order 47-20: Notifying the legislature of the governor’s intention to borrow from the Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund to meet general revenue cash flow obligations for the start of the new fiscal year, FY2021. This transfer occurs annually. The amount being transferred this year is $68.6 million.

Executive Order 48-20: Orders all departments, agencies, bureaus, sections, boards, commissions and other organizational units within the executive branch of state government to effect a spending reduction of their general revenue appropriations for FY2020.

Justice will further address these items in his next virtual media briefing, the release states.

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