The session ends in 31 days and the Legislature still hasn’t produced a budget. Time is running out to pass a budget on time.
It’s the halfway point of the 2017 legislative session and so far the Legislature has not yet presented a budget proposal. Governor Justice has been on the job seven weeks and he’s put forward two budget options that will not cripple our state and immediately create 48,000 road building jobs.
Last week, the Governor’s office put up a Budget Clock in the Capitol to countdown the number of days the House and Senate have to pass a budget during the session. West Virginians can view the Budget Clock at Governor.WV.Gov/Clock. The last thing our state needs is an expensive special session. With the clock on the budget ticking, Governor Justice is asking the Legislature to pass legislation authorizing furloughs and to protect the benefits of furloughed employees.
SAVE OUR STATE BUDGET 2.0
The budget deficit for Fiscal Year 2017 is $123 million. Governor Justice identified roughly $120 million sitting in accounts across state government and is proposing to use it to fill this year’s budget gap. It will prevent another raid on the state’s Rainy Day Fund. The money the Governor and his team uncovered falls into two categories: approximately $60 million from special revenue accounts across state government and approximately $60 million in reappropriated funds. Follow this link for more details.
You can learn more about the Governor’s Save Our State Budget 2.0 by clicking here. VIDEO: Watch Governor Justice unveil his updated budget plan.
Governor Justice and his cabinet have been crisscrossing West Virginia as part of the Save Our State (S.O.S) Tour. With the budget crisis looming over West Virginia, the Governor is meeting with people to share his vision for fixing the budget crisis and growing jobs.
Governor Justice has visited Slab Fork, Fairmont, Elkins, Parkersburg, Barboursville, and Nitro on the S.O.S tour. WATCH: Video of the governor’s trip to Parkersburg.
Stay tuned for more stops on the Governor’s S.O.S Tour.
ROAD BUILDING PLAN TO CREATE 48,000 JOBS
Governor Justice wants to create 48,000 immediate jobs by making a significant investment in fixing our roads and bridges. Under the Governor’s plan all West Virginians will drive through toll booths for free, the initiative is called Mountaineers Are Always Free. His plan will double the maintenance fund from $150 million to $300 million for repairing roads, potholes, and bridges.
Here is how the Governor will fund his roads plan:
Offer $8 EZ-Pass to all West Virginians and others who want one.
Raise Turnpike tolls to $4 for all others.
Leave $2 for Turnpike — New $2 all other roads.
Raise DMV fees from $30 to $50, with inspections every three years. Net impact $10.23 per year.
Lower proposed gas tax Increase from 10 cents to 4.5 cents.
EARLY HIGHLIGHTS OF THE JUSTICE ADMINISTRATION
Furlough Legislation: Following the recent downgrade of the state's bond rating by Moody's Investors Service, Governor Jim Justice is urging the West Virginia Legislature to pass legislation authorizing employee furloughs. The proposed legislation will give the Governor the ability to issue an executive order to furlough state workers in response to our budget crisis. Also, the bill will define the rights of state employees with respect to their employee benefits during the furlough period. View the details here.
Cutting Cars: So far, the Justice Administration has eliminated over 320 state vehicles. The Governor has instructed his cabinet and staff to identify unnecessary spending in every agency across state government. Governor Justice proposed legislation to create a centralized inventory for the entire state fleet. Watch a video to learn more.
No Budget; No Pay: The Governor is supporting a measure to fulfill a campaign promise to limit lawmaker pay to a total of five work days for any special session dealing with the budget. Last year, the West Virginia Legislature spent $35,000 a day on special session and now Governor Justice wants to be responsible and cap the extra pay that members of the House and Senate receive for a special session. Learn more here.