CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The House of Delegates voted Wednesday to adjourn the current special session until June 5 to continue negotiations on budget and revenue proposals while saving taxpayers the $35,000-per-day cost of keeping the full Legislature in Charleston.
“The Governor and both House and Senate leadership have agreed we should have discussions with Republican and Democrat leaders in both houses to see if we can collectively reach a new path forward to solving our budget and revenue differences,” said House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha. “We think this is a positive step and look forward to these discussions. This will also give us time to bring those ideas back to the citizens we represent and gain their input.
“Meanwhile, in order to avoid having to pay 134 lawmakers to be here each day, we feel this adjournment is a sensible step forward to save taxpayer dollars while these discussions continue,” Speaker Armstead said.
House Minority Leader Tim Miley, D-Harrison, agreed the adjournment was a wise decision and said he was ready to work toward a budget solution.
“I look forward to participating in productive negotiations over the next couple of weeks that I hope will help build some consensus between the Legislature and the Governor on how to move forward to address this budget crisis,” Minority Leader Miley said. “This is a smart move by the Legislature that will save taxpayer money.”
The adjournment followed the House’s unanimous refusal to concur in Senate changes to tax reform legislation the House passed last week. The Senate’s changes to House Bill 107 would have raised the state’s consumer sales tax to 7.25 percent in exchange for changes to the personal income tax rates.
“We have had several votes on various tax plans during this special session, and now have a very clear idea what proposals members support and what ideas they do not,” Speaker Armstead said. “The House last week approved its own sensible, bipartisan approach that I believe could be a good framework moving forward. Regardless, we will approach these discussions with a willingness to work together to avoid a government shutdown.
“This break will also give members and our constituents time to review the Governor’s budget proposal, which was submitted yesterday, and suggest any ideas for changes to it,” Speaker Armstead said. “It is my hope that the Legislature will return June 5 with a reasonable budget plan that members can approve in a swift manner.”