CHARLESTON – Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed House Bill 2016 Thursday, the budget bill for Fiscal Year 2016, with targeted cuts. In Jan. Tomblin presented the Legislature with a responsible, balanced budget that took into account the tough budget year.
“As a longtime legislator and former Finance Committee chairman, I respect the hard work legislators put into the budget and the difficult choices they face when choosing how to allocate state dollars to best serve all West Virginians,” Tomblin said. “West Virginia has a reputation of being one of the most fiscally responsible states in the country. We’ve worked hard to earn that distinction, and I remain committed to finding ways to reduce government expenditures and minimize use of the Rainy Day Fund.”
Tomblin adjusted 46 line items representing a total of nearly $11 million from the FY 2016 budget, which includes a $14.8 million withdrawal from the Rainy Day Fund.
“Our six-year projections show we will again have surpluses in the coming years,” Tomblin said. “That additional revenue, which will become available as we pay off long-term liabilities such as the old workers’ compensation fund debt, can be used to provide extra funding in several critical areas. But those funding increases cannot occur if we increase the baseline budget in 2016. I am committed to maintaining fiscally responsible policies now and into the future.”
The total general revenue budget for FY 2016 is $4.296 billion.
In a letter to the Honorable Natalie E. Tennant, Secretary of State, Tomblin explained he vetoed more than $11 million from House Bill 2016. He said in doing so the utilization of the Rainy Day Fund is limited to $14.8 million in Fiscal Year 2016; the bond ratings will continue to be excellent; and West Virginia will continue to receive the best interest rate on debt transactions.
Tomblin’s objections include reducing the following:
– A proposed appropriation of $300,000 to the W.Va. High Tech Consortium was cut by $101,094 to leave $198,906 in funding.
– A proposed appropriation of $225,000 to the Regional Contracting Assistance Center was cut by $16,785 to leave $208,215.
– A proposed appropriation of $500,000 for unclassified spending was abolished. Tomblin said “At a time when we are facing ongoing budget challenges, it is imperative that a cautious and prudent approach be taken to avoid growth in the State’s base budget.”
– Hospitality training was slated to receive $319,005 in funding. Tomblin proposed cutting that funding by $54,032, leaving $264,973.
– Tomblin asked the funding for the Educational Program Allowance be cut by $18,750, leaving $516,250.
– Tomblin asked that funding for the Educational Program Allowance that includes appropriations of $100,000 shall be expended for Webster County Board of Education for Hacker Valley; $150,000 shall be for the Randolph County Board of Education for Pickens School; $100,000 shall be for the Preston County Board of Education for the Aurora School; and $100,000 shall be for the Fayette County Board of Education for Meadow Bridge; and $85,000 is for Project Based Learning in STEM fields. Tomblin said he is reducing the amount from $85,000 to $66,250.
– Tomblin said he was reducing the adjustments in the bill from $718,168 to zero. “My budget recommendations and provisions recommended in House Bill 2478 clarified that the adjustment to the Local Share for Payment in Lieu of Taxes and for assessment errors were to be included in the School Aid Formula. Since those provisions did not pass, I believe we should maintain the established practice of not including the Adjustments line in the School Aid Formula. Therefore, I am reducing the appropriation by the amount of $718,168 to zero.”
– Proposed Educational Enhancements were reduced from $575,000 to $200,000.
– Tomblin said he was reducing the appropriation to Education Enhancements of $375,000 for Save the Children programs in Cabell, Roane, Calhoun and Mason counties.
– Tomblin asked the appropriation for S.T.E.M Education and Grant Program for the Challenger Learning Center at Wheeling Jesuit University be deleted because the language redirects funds from the S.T.E.M. Education and Grant Program he recommended in his Budget Bill.
– Tomblin asked the $6,000,000 for Primary Care Support be reduced by $729,572.
– The $3,000,000 proposed funding for Health Right Free Clinics be reduced by $250,000. Tomblin said with the expansion of the Medicaid Program, more W.Va. residents are eligible for health coverage. “This, in turn, should reduce the reliance on free clinics and will reduce uncompensated care. Cuts are never easy, but are necessary in our State’s financial situation.”
– Reduction in the Children’s Trust Fund – Transfer from $300,000 to $220,000.
– Cuts of $511,081 for the Personal Services and Employee Benefits’ proposed $59,511,081.
– Tomblin asked the Vehicle Purchase line be reduced by $377,614 to $2,000,000.
– Capital Outlay and Maintenance was budgeted for $2,250,000. Tomblin asked that be cut by $2,000,000.
– Tomblin asked the Personal Services and Employee Benefits line be cut from $1,876,828 to $1,801,828.
– Unclassified funds were budgeted at $200,000. Tomblin asked the line item be cut to $20,000.
– Veterans’ Field Offices were budgeted for $288,345. Tomblin asked this line item be cut by $20,000.
– The Veterans’ Nursing Home budget was set for $6,004,913. Tomblin asked that line item be cut by $63,875, leaving $5,941,038.
– Tomblin asked for budget funding for the Veterans’ Reeducation Assistance cut from $39,502 to $29,502.
– The Veterans’ Grant Program was budgeted for $150,000. Tomblin asked the line item cut by $50,000, leaving $100,000.
– In a proposed allocation of $583,263 for Veterans Cemetery, Tomblin asked funding cut by $210,000, leaving $373,263.
– Tomblin asked the appropriation of $5,676,500 to New River Community and Technical College be cut by $34,797.
– In the appropriation for Pierpont Community and Technical College funding of $7,664,596, Tomblin asked funding be cut by $133,835.
– Blue Ridge Community and Technical College appropriation of $4,949,710. Tomblin asked funding be cut by $342,166.
– Tomblin asked that a proposed appropriation for West Virginia University – Parkersburg be cut by $305,243, leaving $9,788,994.
– Tomblin asked for a cut in the proposed appropriation for West Virginia Northern Community and Technical College for $24,583 – leaving $7,075,033.
– Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College had a proposed appropriation of $1,887,174. Tomblin asked that be cut by $5,340.
– Tomblin asked that a proposed appropriation for Bridge Valley Community and Technical College by $19,897, leaving $7,739,898.
– WVU – School of Health Sciences was set for an appropriation of $16,711,414. Tomblin asked the funding be reduced by $547,975.
– Tomblin asked for proposed appropriation to Jackson’s Mill be reduced from $307,713 to $247,549.
– Proposed appropriation to the Forensic Lab was budgeted for $415,000. Tomblin asked for funding reduction of $164,589.
– The proposed appropriation for the Center for Rural Health is $275,000. Tomblin asked for a reduction of $109,963, leaving $165,037.
– The proposed appropriation for the Luke Lee Listening Language and Learning Lab was set for $175,000. Tomblin asked it be cut $70,000.
– Proposed appropriation for the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine is $7,458,334. Tomblin asked for a cut of $450,058, leaving $7,008,276.
– The proposed appropriation for Bluefield State College is $5,823,680. Tomblin asked the appropriation be cut by $8,561.
– Shepherd University had a proposed appropriation of $9,921,556 – Tomblin asked that be cut by $90,226.
– Tomblin asked the proposed appropriation of $8,198,329 for West Liberty University be cut by $1,589.
– Tomblin asked the proposed appropriation for West Virginia State University of $10,733,691 be cut by $426,550.
– Tomblin asked the proposed appropriation of $22,928,928 for the Medical Services Trust Fund – Transfer be reduced to $14,792,331.
– $16,422,140 was the proposed appropriation for Medical services. Tomblin asked that amount be reduced by $2,000,000.
– Tomblin said Section 20 in the bill is a special permissive, one-time appropriation from Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund, which was not to exceed $20,000,000 for the renovation of State Capitol Complex Building 3 to provide for its use as state office space. Tomblin said “This is a use of Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund that is not in line with the intention of the fund and potentially sets a precedent for use of the fund contrary to purpose for which the fund was created. Therefore, I am deleting the language and in lieu of incurring additional state debt, bond issuance and interest expense, directing the transfer of funds to the Capitol Dome and Capitol Improvements Fund.”