Lawmakers Continue to Hash Out Budget
West Virginia lawmakers are back to negotiate a long-delayed 2017 budget hampered by the coal industry’s downfall and low natural gas prices. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin called them back to Charleson to hammer out the numbers. The governor has proposed options of tax increases on sales, tobacco, e-cigarettes and cellphone and landline use. Tomblin suggested using $29 million from the Rainy Day Fund and millions from other funds to backfill the 2016 budget. He requested authority to furlough state employees in fiscal emergencies. The Senate previously passed tobacco and sales tax hikes. The House didn’t. The cellphone and landline tax went unconsidered. The new fiscal year starts July 1.