In an update to the article we posted about unpaid Birth to Three workers in West Virginia, it seems that the inability to properly balance its budget shouldn’t have come as a surprise to legislators as they closed out their regular session this year without doing so. As information from the legislature’s own press release indicated on March 15th of this year.
“There is one piece of legislation that the Legislature is constitutionally required to pass during the 60 day legislative session: the budget bill. The 2016 Legislature couldn’t get the job done.”
You know things have gone south when the term “Mexican Standoff” shows up in your public discourse on budget negotiations (see above link to the legislature’s press release).
On February 6, 2016, another posted press release stated:
“Requested by the Governor, the supplemental appropriation bill takes $51.8 million from the state’s Revenue Shortfall Reserve Fund (also called the Rainy Day Fund), as well as $6.7 million from two other funds and transfers it into the state’s General Revenue Fund to help the state meet some immediate cash flow needs.”
It seems that the funds have been moved from that Rainy Day Fund to cover the shortfall faced, but has not been utilized to pay its employees and in turn putting families at risk of not getting the care they need and deserve. Going back even further, the Governor filed for its introduction January 21, then it was approved in February and currently is in an “Effective from Passage” status. So why doesn’t the state have the funds to pay its employees in May with only 40 days left in the fiscal year? Why are employees and contracted workers just now being told?
Apparently a lot of the infighting stems from the PEIA committees request to be fully funded. A battle that has been ongoing since at least December 2015. Republican House Speaker, Tim Armstead places the blame with union leaders and the fallout of the bickering is being felt all over the state.