CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — At the 11th hour, lawmakers were quickly trying to pass key pieces of legislation on the final day. The centerpiece? The state’s $4.5 billion budget in the House of Delegates, that does not include any new tax increases.
“Absolutely, I think that was important. The taxpayers have been having problems over the years. We’ve all been taxed, most of us believe, too much,” said Del. Eric Householder, (R) Berkeley – Finance Chairman.
The Finance Committee Chairman says much of the $28 million cut from WVU and Marshall University will be restored. If not in this final budget, but with supplemental payments in the coming months. But Democrats aren’t buying it.
“We have been cutting higher education in West Virginia since 2010. Nothing ever gets replaced back into the budget no matter what folks say,” said Del. Lisa Zukoff, (D) Marshall.
“We’ve been cutting higher education in this state for the last seven years. Our small colleges are so vital to their communities. Every dollar we put in, we get seven back,” said State Sen. Mike Romano, (D) Harrison.
Another bill that passed aims at improving broadband service, especially in parts of rural West Virginia where you can’t get on the internet or on a cell phone.
“It’s integral to health care, to education, working in the 21st-century workforce and all sorts of pieces of our quality of life. And it’s big for the future of the state of West Virginia and we’re happy to work on it,” said Del. Daniel Linville, (R) Cabell.
Also passing in the Senate a controversial bill that requires state licensing of any local needle exchange programs for those with substance use disorder.
“The Governor said on Friday he may call a Special Session of the Legislature, to make another try at reducing the state’s personal income tax. But the Governor has not indicated when that might happen,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.