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As West Virginia budget bill advances, Senate warned about overspending

By PHIL KABLER

Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After several lean years, an uptick in state revenue collections has many legislators eager to tap into state budget surplus dollars, over warnings from Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, to avoid reverting to the bad old pork-barrel days of the state Budget Digest.

“Next year, this is going to have a snowballing effect, and I don’t know how we’re going to stop it,” he said of multiple amendments to budget bills in both the Senate and the House of Delegates to appropriate surplus revenue.

Blair said he could anticipate legislators next session flooding the Finance Committees with hundreds of requests for surplus revenue appropriations — reminiscent of the 1970s to the mid-2000s, when legislators submitted dozens of pork-barrel spending requests for inclusion in the legislative Budget Digest.

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