WV Gov. Justice calls May 4 special legislative session on state budget

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Update: 4/27/2017 6:00 P.M.

Gov. Jim Justice

It's been two weeks since Gov. Jim Justice, in dramatic fashion, vetoed the budget the West Virginia Legislature approved April 8.

The special session to begin that work won't begin until May 4.

The beginning of the new budget year is two weeks from Monday, May 1.

"There might be some finagling that might be done," notes Wood County Republican Sen. Mike Azinger, "but I think everyone understands the July deadline and I think no one wants it to go past July 1, and I think that's going to happen."

Says Del. John Kelly: "I believe that's going to depend entirely on Governor Justice."

Kelly and House of Delegates leaders still believe the budget it originally approved was fair, and spent only the money in the governor's revenue estimates.

Back in March, however, Democrat Justice told us belt-tightening fails to move the state forward.

"To do that and to go off on that hunt will yield small fruit, in my opinion," he said on March 3. "We need to be looking for big-time fruit."

But Republican Kelly says, special session or not, the House isn't likely, at least for now, to change its position.

"We definitely have that bargaining chip. And we intend for our point of view to be listened to. And our point of view from our constituents is going to have to be listened to by the governor."


West Virginia Governor Jim Justice says he's calling the Legislature back to a special session on May 4 to resolve their state budget disagreement.

The Democratic governor two weeks ago vetoed the $4.1 billion general revenue spending plan approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature, saying it cut too much state funding from education and from health care for poor West Virginians.

Justice says that after various talks recently, he thinks they are "on a pathway to pass a budget that's really special."

He told reporters Wednesday he's calling the lawmakers back May 4 and he believes they will end up with some modest additional cuts beyond his proposal, lower personal income taxes almost 20 percent, raise the sales tax rate 1 percent and include some form of a "very, very modest" tax on business.

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