Tomblin Vetoes 2017 Budget with 22 Days Until Government Shutdown
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has vetoed a budget plan that would take more than $180 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
In his veto message, Tomblin called the budget “irresponsible”, saying it relies too heavily on one-time monies and leaves a significant shortfall for the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years.
The budget bill -- largely approved on party lines in both the House and Senate -- took $182.6 million from the Rainy Day Fund, another $60-plus million in other one-time monies, and made cuts to agency budgets to make up for the $270 million revenue shortfall expected in 2017.
In a press release, Tomblin said he and members on both sides of the aisle in the Senate have agreed to passing a 65 cent increase on the state’s cigarette tax to help close current and future budget holes. The governor is “strongly urging” members of the House to agree to the tax hike.
The House voted down a measure to increase the tax by 45 cents last month.
Lawmakers approved the budget June 2 and quickly left town after passing a resolution to return to Charleston on Sunday, June 12.
The deadline to approve a budget and avoid a state government shutdown is June 30; however, state leaders have said West Virginia will begin running into problems scheduling payments by the end of the week.
It would take a two-thirds vote of both chambers to override a budget veto.