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Restored funding a relief for W.Va. social services

BECKLEY, W.Va. — It’s been a week of lows and highs for Patricia Bailey.

The director of the Women’s Resource Center was near the end of her rope and her budget Tuesday when she spoke at a vigil in Charleston asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add restoring funding for social services to the call for a special session of the Legislature.

That special session was already in progress when Senate President Jeff Kessler told the group the chances of Tomblin doing that after he used the line item veto to reduce funding for those services were “slim to none.” The governor had vetoed lawmakers’ increase to those line items because the money came from the Rainy Day Fund, which was already being tapped for $100,000 to balance a lean state budget.

As the House of Delegates went into session Wednesday morning, rumors swirled that delegates had found a way to restore the money to Family Resource Networks, Domestic Violence Legal Services, In-Home Family Education, Domestic Violence Programs, the Children’s Trust Fund and Child Advocacy Centers.

Bailey said she started getting e-mail early in the afternoon that the funding was going to be restored, and began to have hope she could save two-and-a-half positions in her agency. By mid-afternoon, she knew for sure; the $53,000 she had feared losing from her budget had been rescued thanks to a rare bipartisan effort in the House of Delegates.

The Senate overwhelmingly passed the measure that restored $1.06 million to social services programs, sending it to Tomblin. The governor told Metro News on Thursday he doesn’t have a problem with the funding source — “purses” for horse and dog racing.

“It’s like somebody took a concrete block off your shoulders,” Bailey said…

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