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Legislature LookAhead: W.Va. Legislature to manage an estimated $1.8 billion surplus

By Bob Aaron, WCHS News

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WCHS) — Education, a possible tax cut and the fate of state government’s biggest department are all issues expected to dominate the upcoming 60-day West Virginia legislative session. The Republican-dominated Legislature will decide how to handle the state’s surplus starting next week.

“Making sure the critical infrastructure is where we want it and need it to be remains a real priority for the House,” House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, said. “It remains a place where we will support deploying as much of the budget surplus as we can get agreement to deploy.”

Headed for an apparent $1.8 billion surplus for the fiscal year, money was a major factor at the West Virginia Press Association’s Legislative LookAhead.

“When there’s a pile of money out there, there’s a feeding frenzy,” Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, said. “I can tell you right now, the Senate is not going to allow a feeding frenzy to take place.”

Hanshaw, Blair and House Minority Leader Doug Skaff see education as a priority while the Department of Health and Human Resources appears to be on the chopping block.

“The Senate is prepared to offer bills in the very beginning that will break it up into three more manageable components,” Blair said of the DHHR. …

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