22 May 2009

New W.Va. Budget Taking Shape

Lawmakers expect to tackle a budget blueprint revised by Gov. Joe Manchin that relies on at least $34 million from the federal stimulus to ease the sting of $197 million worth of needed cuts, The Associated Press reports.

But legislative leaders and the governor's office also predict that the stimulus funds won't spare most state agencies and programs from spending reductions of at least 2 percent.

"A chunk of the federal stimulus money is meant to help states with their budgets, particularly in education," AP explains. "Manchin and lawmakers are eyeing $11 million for higher education and $23 million for K-12."

The Legislature returns Tuesday to complete the state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The governor's budget office and staff of the House and Senate finance committees in recent weeks have been exchanging drafts of spending proposals that reflect the revenue projections that Manchin revised downward in response to the recession, AP has been told.

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