Monday, March 14, 2016

West Virginia lawmakers back for budget, but standoff looms

(AP) — West Virginia lawmakers are back at the Capitol to hash out a budget, though they're unlikely to bridge the gap between the House plan to tap reserves and a Senate version raising taxes.

The Republican-led Legislature returned Monday to negotiate a 2017 budget with a $466 million gap. Lawmakers wrapped their 60-day session Saturday. The budget session ends Tuesday.

The House budget relies on $32 million from Rainy Day Fund reserves, $17 million in extra cuts and $72 million from agency accounts.

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says he'll veto a budget tapping reserves.

Senators would raise $115 million through higher tobacco taxes and $20 million by eliminating greyhound racing subsidies.

The House didn't approve those revenues and others.

Without progress, Tomblin said he'd bring lawmakers back later this spring.