CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice issued the following statement today following the West Virginia Legislature’s passage of the fiscal year 2021-22 budget.
“We (Senate and House, my team, and myself) did it. A reduced budget from last year, absolutely economically sound, and we really have helped our families. All of this together will bring more and more jobs and opportunities to our people.
“On the first day of the legislative session, I laid out a vision for West Virginia’s future that put our families first. Today, on the last day of the session, I would like to congratulate and thank the members of the West Virginia Senate and House of Delegates for working with me to pass the most family-friendly budget in the history of our great state.
“During my State of the State address, I asked legislators to join me in support of a series of programs and funding measures that I call my Family-First Initiative. The list was long and ambitious. But, today, I’m proud to say that every single piece of my Family-First Initiative has been fully funded in this year’s budget.
“Working alongside my team at the Department of Revenue, we found more than $30 million dollars, much of which we’re going to use to help with the day-to-day expenses for our incredible foster parents – to make sure they have what they need to carry on the important work they do, caring for some of our most vulnerable kids.
“The budget also contains the funding to completely eliminate the IDD waiver waitlist, which will allow 1,060 additional West Virginians, including more than 600 children, to receive critical services to help them live their everyday lives.
“We’re providing millions of dollars for the hungry in West Virginia this year. We’re helping fund the Department of Education’s Backpack Program, so that our kids can go home on the weekend not having to worry about being fed. The budget also includes extra funding for our food banks and for our Bureau of Senior Services to buy more vehicles and provide additional hot meals to the homebound.
“The budget includes the funding we need to expand our highly successful Mountaineer Challenge Academy to a second location in Montgomery, so our West Virginia National Guard can continue their efforts to change the lives of at-risk youths across the state.
“We’ll be able to fund the expansion of our vital Communities In Schools program into new counties, allowing thousands more students to take advantage of great resources that will remove barriers to learning and help our kids graduate.
“And this budget will also fund our incredibly important Jobs & Hope program, allowing West Virginians suffering from drug addiction, or any other barriers to employment, to get quality treatment, training, and to land a great job.
“It was hard to get all of these things done, but we got it done. I just don’t know how it gets any better for our great families across West Virginia. We are truly putting you first this year in every way. We still have a lot of people to help and we will. But this is a great start and I thank everyone who was involved in helping us make life better for so many West Virginians.”