How Would YOU Balance West Virginia's Budget?

Mar 11, 2016

Gov. Tomblin gives his state of the state address as Senate President Bill Cole (left) and House Speaker Tim Armstead watch.
Credit Perry Bennette / West Virginia Legislative Photography

It’s been a horrific year for the state budget in West Virginia. There’s a budget hole to fill of about $400 million because of the collapse of severance tax revenue from coal and gas.

There are basically three ways to balance the budget:

1. Raise taxes

2. Cut spending

3. Dip into the state’s savings.  

Governor Tomblin proposed to balance the budget through a mix of all three – a 4 percent across-the-board spending cut, a tax on cell phone service and a 45 cent increase in the cigarette tax.

The Senate approved a $1 increase in the cigarette tax, a decrease in the coal severance tax, and the 4 percent across-the-board cut.

The House rejected all the tax increases and depends more on spending cuts and savings from the Rainy Day Fund and other one-time funds.

What would YOU do?

These three entities will negotiate the state’s budget over the next few days and possibly weeks.

Can West Virginia’s state government cut its way to prosperity? Can it spend its way to prosperity?

On The Front Porch, Rick Wilson and Scott Finn debate the best mix of taxes and spending to insure the state’s future.

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An edited version of “The Front Porch” airs Fridays at 4:50 p.m. on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s radio network, and the full version is available above.

Share your opinions with us about these issues, and let us know what you'd like us to discuss in the future. Send a tweet to @radiofinn or @wvpublicnews, or e-mail Scott at sfinn @ wvpublic.org

The Front Porch is underwritten by The Charleston Gazette Mail, providing both sides of the story on its two editorial pages. Check it out: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/