CHARLESTON – Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, is urging Governor Jim Justice to sign the Budget Bill for Fiscal Year 2018.
“While I realize this budget is not what the Governor wants, I believe it’s a budget that is rooted in reality,” Senate President Carmichael said. “We cannot continue to spend taxpayer dollars at the same level while our revenue collections decrease.”
Carmichael said that the budget, which provides for $4.1 billion in General Revenue spending in Fiscal 2018, fulfills the pledge made by House and Senate leadership to not place additional tax burden on citizens. The version agreed to by the House and Senate fully funds public education at current levels, continues funding to aged and disabled waiver programs, and makes modest cuts to higher education. It also uses $90 million from the state’s Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund. Absent revenue from tax reform proposals that the Legislature presented during the session, Carmichael said he encourages the Governor to sign this budget and begin utilizing the management skills of his team to control state spending.
“This budget is a first step toward a complete change in West Virginia,” Senate President Carmichael said. “I encourage Governor Justice to sign this budget because I believe only then can we truly begin to have the conversation about the need for comprehensive tax reform. If we do not fundamentally overhaul the current West Virginia tax structure, our state will continue to face annual budget problems. I believe the Senate has an aggressive but reasonable pathway to make tax reform an immediate reality. I hope we’re able to continue those discussions and plan a course forward. Our state cannot afford to be weighed down by any economic shackles, and we owe it to the citizens of this state to give real tax reform the consideration and chance it deserves.”