Gov. Justice says budget deal is possible

Gov. Justice says budget deal is possible

Gov. Justice says budget deal is possible

It came as the Republican-controlled Legislature tried to wrap up this year's work, but remained divided with Democratic Gov. Jim Justice over a state budget and revised taxes.

"It's very important for us to put a budget before the governor", Carmichael said.

Carmichael said the difference is between spending and the House's position and that the Senate was negotiating with House leadership to lower their budget.

"I know everybody is exhausted and has worked hard because there is a lot of stake", he said.

However, HB 2018, described briefly on the floor just before midnight Saturday by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Mike Hall, R-Putnam, didn't seem to coincide with Justice's words.

Justice acknowledged that he still needs the support of the House of Delegates if and when his deal with Carmichael makes its way through the Senate. The first bracket begins January 1, 2018 and calls for taking personal income tax down 20 percent of its current rate. "Republicans had 60 days to finish budget".

And the budget bill, as proposed, would raise the state's gas tax 4.5-cents, according to Justice. The bill also includes the governor's proposed roads project money, Justice said.

"The momentum changed and all of a sudden, there became real hope and real optimism", Justice said.

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Justice's proposal, which requires raising $224 million of new tax revenue, includes about $55 million in spending cuts.

"In a time when we need to invest in higher education to kick-start this economy, we're turning around and are going to cut", Prezioso said.

Both bills passed by small margins after much debate.

The budget plan pending in the House would cut higher education by about 4 percent.

The West Virginia Legislature website also notes SB 199 passed in the Senate by a 20-14 vote Wednesday.

Justice has called either set of cuts too drastic, saying they would hurt students and West Virginians getting needed social services while automatically cutting matching federal funds.

Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project, who is a West Virginia native and graduate of West Virginia University, said "This will be an important and, in some cases, life-saving program".

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