By ANDREA LANNOM
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Jim Justice’s chief of staff and the director of the state budget office expressed optimism for the 2019 fiscal year and the budget going six years into the future.
Mike Hall, Justice’s chief of staff, and Mike McKown, state budget office director, addressed the House and Senate finance committees Thursday, presenting details on the governor’s proposed budget. McKown said he is optimistic about the six-year plan, saying the projection is for surpluses to grow each year.
“I’m as optimistic and positive as I’ve ever been about this fiscal year and the out years,” McKown told the Senate Finance Committee. “The bottom line is positive. We used to have negative red numbers. Now, it’s all positive.”
Hall, who served as finance chair before becoming Justice’s chief of staff, said the budget situation is a better picture this year.
“Having been in your role for several years and seeing a shortfall in revenue, what we’re seeing today is a different story,” Hall said, addressing Senate Finance Chair Craig Blair, R-Berkeley. “The investment returns have affected our pension system and caused for it to be a better picture. Certain things have added to the growth of our economy.”
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