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Government

West Virginia Legislature Appropriates $250 Million In Budget Surpluses

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The West Virginia Legislature cleared a string of one-time funding bills for various state agencies and tackled other measures in a Thursday special session.

In total, lawmakers cleared $250-plus million in state budget surpluses to various state agencies and programs. Included was $30 million for the state Department of Commerce’s Development Office to create a “closing fund” — aiming to attract more businesses to move into the state.

“Some of our surrounding states (have) in excess of several hundred million dollar funds. This at least gets us in the game," said Del. Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson.

Other appropriations included $42 million for state parks and $5 million for tourism. Lawmakers also stashed away $50 million in the state’s rainy day fund, which stood at $938 million as of the end of May.

Despite passage in the Senate, the House of Delegates did not put three proposals to a vote. Those proposals would have added funding to the Office of Technology, the Division of Personnel and the Water Development Authority.

Another measure to extend a freeze on the daily rate county commissions pay to incarcerate people in West Virginia's 10 regional jails also cleared the House and Senate.

Lawmakers are expected to return to Charleston in late summer or early fall to tackle the redistricting of statehouse and congressional seats. They could also return sooner to appropriate funding from the latest coronavirus stimulus package, known as the American Rescue Plan.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.


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