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Governor strikes park lodge funding from budget

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin called a bluff from legislators, eliminating a directive that would have provided more than $50 million for improvements at two state parks, among several line-item vetoes he issued Monday.

On the next-to-last day of the legislative session, lawmakers had inserted the directive to issue $52.5 million of long-delayed bonds for lodge construction and capital improvements at Beech Fork State Park, in Wayne County, and Cacapon State Park, in Morgan County, into a bill (HB 2769) to appropriate about $41.7 million of unspent funds to balance the state budget. The bill passed the Legislature in the waning hours of the regular session.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Trump, R-Morgan, who authored the amendment, said Monday he was not entirely surprised that Tomblin vetoed it.

“It was suggested to me when we offered that, and the bodies put it in, it might meet that fate,” Trump said of the line-item veto.

In his veto message, Tomblin raised several issues with the provision, including questioning whether the Legislature has the constitutional authority to use an appropriations bill to order the executive branch to sell bonds.

He also said he is concerned that the state’s bond rating could be downgraded if the bonds were sold…

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