Lawmakers must agree on budget, then plan for future

A column by John Miller, executive editor of The Exponent Telegram 

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — As West Virginia lawmakers continue what’s been a long slog toward a budget agreement, we believe area residents should join with us in encouraging local legislators to get behind Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s current proposal.

The governor worked with legislative leaders to hammer out a compromise that raises the tobacco tax 65 cents, to $1.20 per pack, while reducing the money needed from the Rainy Day Fund from $182 million to $70 million. The compromise also includes some additional cuts that lawmakers believe will be manageable.

While legislators returned in full session Saturday, veteran lawmakers don’t expect a quick deal. The Senate passed the compromise budget, but the House, which defeated the last bipartisan deal, is expected to be a tough sell again.

That’s disappointing because state government runs the risk of being in shutdown mode come July 1…

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