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Local lawmakers discuss legislative-approved spending plan

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 6:49 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTAP) - Despite a delay in tallying votes in the House of Delegates, West Virginia lawmakers Monday made short work of the governor’s proposals for spending surplus money.

More than 900 miles of paving working on secondary roads is what about a third of the expected $400 million in excess dollars are to be spent on in nearly all counties, including those in the local area.

And Del. Vernon Criss, who serves on the House Finance Committee, says that’s in addition to the work that’s already been done.

“We’ve greatly reduced the amount of slips and slides that we have accumulated over the last 5 or 6 years,” Criss said after Monday’s special session. “We’re addressing those as we speak, especially in our area.”

But not all the local delegation believes roads are the only thing for which budget surpluses should be spent.

Before Monday’s session, Del. Shannon Kimes, in a letter to the governor’s legislative director, Bob Ashley, said he believes surpluses could be used to make good on Gov. Jim Justice’s call to reduce, or eliminate, West Virginia’s income tax.

“So all I’m saying is, cut $200 milllion in taxes, to start us cutting the income tax, like everyone down there says they want to do,” Del. Kimes told us. “The funding would come out of excess revenue we should receive next year if the funding stays the same as this year.”

But by their vote Monday, most lawmakers apparently believed surpluses should be dealt with one fiscal year at a time.

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