West Virginia House passes $4.6 billion budget bill

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed its version of the state budget for 2019-2020 that includes funding for teacher raises.

The House voted 92-5 Saturday afternoon on the $4.6 billion spending bill.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports a key difference between the House bill and the Senate’s is the funding for teacher raises. The House bill passed Saturday includes $67.7 million to cover the raises, averaging 5 percent overall. The Senate version (SB 150) does not include funding for pay raises for teachers and school service personnel.

Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair has said pay raises will be included if and when the Senate passes a House pay raise bill (HB 2730). That bill has been stuck in the Senate Education Committee for more than a week.

“This is a balanced budget, and it’s coming to you in record time,” House Finance Chairman Eric Householder told the House Saturday. “This budget provides the promised pay raises to teachers, school service personnel, state police and the rest of public personnel who work so hard for us.”

The House budget uses about $49 million of surplus general revenue from last year and lottery funds to close the gap between the estimate of $4.616 billion of general revenue collections in 2019-20 and the $4.666 billion of appropriations.

The House plan uses $6 million of surplus to fund state tourism marketing and promotion — less than the $14 million the governor requested.

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