CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, and House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, issued the following joint statement in response to Gov. Jim Justice’s Monday afternoon budget press conference:
“We’re glad the Governor has heard the concerns of our constituents with his initial proposals and are heartened to know he is open to alternatives. Some of the ideas he brought up today – such as the smoothing proposal with the Teacher’s Retirement System – are suggestions we brought to the table during our meetings with the administration. We also agree that additional cuts of $50 million or more are needed, and we are carefully evaluating various options for significant cuts. We hope the Governor will continue to work with us on these and other ideas to close our budget gap.
“Like the Governor, we agree we need to think big to solve our budget crisis. The Legislature has started work on major tax reform proposals that will spur economic growth. Members of our Finance committees are working diligently to review the Governor’s proposed budget to identify savings in each agency. We believe that their work with the Governor’s cabinet secretaries will yield additional ways to increase efficiencies and save taxpayers money.
“We are working night and day to solve this budget crisis, and are putting forward our own alternatives. We are committed to doing everything we can to have a budget passed by this Legislature before we end our regular session on April 8.”