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Investment returns ease W.Va. budget pressure

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s investment returns are better than expected, meaning the state’s budget can be balanced with less Rainy Day Fund dollars.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said Tuesday that he will reduce that “dip” into the state’s savings account to about $25 million. Tomblin had first budgeted $69 million from the Rainy Day Fund.

 Secretary of Revenue Bob Kiss said the $44 million had come from the Teachers’ Retirement Fund, which is now funded at 60-80 percent, thus compound interest is working “for us.”

“The rate of return is significant,” Kiss noted.

Tomblin also noted that the 2016 budget — forecast to be a “tough” year— is $39 million less than the 2015 budget, which was bolstered by $100 million from the Rainy Day Fund.

“Rating agencies approve of our long-term plan, have reaffirmed our positive ratings and have given us a stable outlook for the future,” Tomblin said.

GOP leadership in the Legislature said that while the news is good, it could be better.

“The true goal is not to dip in less, but not to dip in at all,” said Sen. President Bill Cole, R-Mercer.

Cole said the state still has “work to do … to root out government waste…


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