April 24, 2020
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – State lawmakers from both parties are asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to let them consider restoring money cut from programs for children and families.
The governor cut $1 million from safety-net budgets, including those for child advocacy, in-home family education and support for victims of domestic violence and child abuse.
Families and advocates are asking the governor to let the Legislature reconsider the cuts during a special session. Some lawmakers from both parties agree.
Republican Senate leader Mike Hall says there is a good chance lawmakers can find a little money for the popular programs.
“With this kind of public support behind it, it would not surprise me that the governor wouldn’t consider at least putting this on the special session,” he says. “It really is a very small amount.”
The governor will have to call a special session to deal with other budget issues. Most expect the session will be late next month.
The governor made the cuts to help close a gap in the budget. But supporters of the programs say they more than pay for themselves.
They say the programs draw federal and private funding. And according to Democratic delegate Nancy Peoples Guthrie, the programs reduce state spending in areas such as criminal justice and substance abuse.
“If I thought that the economics proposed through these cuts made any sense, I would be quiet about it,” she says. “But we may end up costing the state more money over the long run by making these cuts than if we restored the cuts.”
Guthrie adds the cuts represent a tiny amount compared to a $4 billion state general revenue budget.
“We hope that the governor, who is a kind and decent man, will reconsider what amounts to, in the larger scheme of things, just a rounding error,” she says.
- See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2020-04-24/budget-policy-and-priorities/lawmakers-on-both-sides-favor-restoring-kids-and-families-cuts/a38951-1#sthash.QM9VRIp8.dpuf