The West Virginia House and Senate met for the first day of the 2017 regular state Legislative session Wednesday.
The first official day of the 83rd West Virginia Legislative session began as House Speaker Tim Armstead and Senate President Mitch Carmichael gaveled in Wednesday.
Both chambers’ floor sessions were conducted without issue, but a large number of bills were introduced. In fact, 211 bills in the House and 198 in the Senate.
Speaker Armstead says the budget will be a major focus this year – West Virginia is facing a $600 million dollar shortfall – but he hopes it won’t be an overshadowing issue.
Armstead says he and other legislative leaders are eager to hear Governor Jim Justice’s State of the State address this evening, and he says, regarding the budget, the state will likely see cuts rather than an increase in taxes.
“The people of West Virginia are taxed too much," said Armstead, "and so we’re going to have to right-size our government, make some cuts, do those in a responsible manner, but do it in a way that truly creates a government that reflects the ability of the people of West Virginia to fund government.”
Governor Justice said on the campaign trail he would not increase taxes.
Armstead also says he wants to see significant progress in changes to the education system and how the drug epidemic is handled, and make some legal and regulatory reforms.
Tune in this evening at 7:00 for Governor Justice’s State of the State address live on radio, television, and online. See wvpublic.org for more information.