CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Legislators restored $1.06 million in funding cuts to several West Virginia family resources and social services programs Wednesday, as they wrapped up a three-day special session.
As the House of Delegates was considering a bill (SB2003) to put money into accounts that previously had received video lottery profits (SB2003), delegates reduced the amount going to the Racetrack Purse Fund by that $1.06 million amount, to $14.58 million. Delegates moved that money to the Family Resource Networks, domestic-violence prevention programs, Child Advocacy Networks, and domestic violence legal services.
In his budget bill, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin had reduced those accounts, along with most other state appropriations. When the Legislature passed a budget on March 14 that restored those accounts to their fiscal 2013-14 funding levels, Tomblin used the line-item veto to roll back the funding to the amounts he proposed.
Delegate Nancy Guthrie, D-Kanawha, said it was deeply upsetting that Tomblin had cut the funding by line-item veto.
“We didn’t seem to have our priorities right,” Guthrie said. “It’s not a whole lot of money, and if it keeps one kid out of prison, or one person out of domestic violence … then I think it’s worth every single dime.”
The bill, which appropriates $71 million to various accounts that had automatically received video lottery profits, passed the House 90-0.
Shortly afterward, the Senate passed the bill 30-1 and sent it to the governor, over objections from Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson.
Snyder argued that the legislation passed March 14, which moved the funds to accounts that have to be appropriated by the Legislature, does not permit additional reductions in the racetrack purse fund, which is used to pay owners of winning thoroughbred horses and greyhounds at the state’s four racetracks.
The legislation moved 10 percent of the purse fund revenue into an account that is appropriated by the Legislature, but Snyder argued that that account cannot be used for other purposes.
“I think that’s illegal,” he said. “That money is set by statute. We can’t appropriate money that is set by statute.” …
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Reach Phil Kabler at [email protected] or 304-348-1220.