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Senate OKs Taking $52 Million from Rainy Day Fund to Balance Budget

Martin Valent
West Virginia Legislative Photography
Senate Finance Chair Mike Hall explains the supplemental appropriations bills to members of the Senate.

The West Virginia Senate unanimously approved four supplemental appropriations bills Wednesday that aim to balance the 2016 budget.

All four bills were presented to the chamber at the request of Governor Tomblin in the hopes of making up for the state's $384 million budget gap. The gap is partially due to declining income from the state's severance taxes on coal and natural gas.

Three of the four bills moved Medicaid and Title 19 seniors program payments from general revenue funds to lottery and excess lottery funds, finding a new source of funding for the programs from February through July. 

The fourth of the bills pulled $51.8 million from the state's Rainy Day Fund and more than $6 million from other cash accounts to aid in bill payments. 

"We have the money to pay our bills," Senate Finance Chair Mike Hall said Wednesday, "it's just in the wrong place and essentially what a supplemental does is make adjustments to where that money is."

If the same four bills are approved by the House of Delegates, the excess dollars combined with other measures Governor Tomblin has taken to reduce the current budget will leave lawmakers with $138 million to find to close the estimated $384 million dollar shortfall.

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