by Ron Gregory
Charleston — A group of legislators that includes several local representatives pledged their support for Governor Jim Justice’s plan to limit the pay they would receive if a special session is called to complete the budget.
House Bill 2981 was introduced today. This bill and a companion bill that will be introduced in the Senate would cap compensation of members of the Legislature to no more than five days in a special session where a budget bill has not been enacted during the regular session.
“Last year, legislators spent the entire regular session and couldn’t come up with a workable and sensible budget. Indeed, the failure to pass a responsible budget during the regular 60-day session caused a special session to be held that cost taxpayers $600,000.00 and almost caused the government to shut down,” House Minority Leader Tim Miley (D-Harrison) said. “West Virginia residents deserve better than the uncertainty that comes with delayed action on a budget, especially when they are footing the bill. That is why we are supportive of Governor Justice’s proposal to limit the pay of legislators to only five days of a special session to get a budget passed.“
Miley added, “Members of the Legislature have known for quite some time that our state faces a budget crisis, The rating downgrade by Moody’s was the most recent indicator that we need to get our fiscal house in order now. It is time that we accelerate the work on the budget so we can at least determine whether there is a possibility to find common ground and pass a responsible budget.”
Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso (D-Marion) added, “We are facing a fiscal crisis and 60 days should be plenty of time to find a solution if we work together and focus on finding solutions we can all support. If we use our time during session wisely, then we shouldn’t have to be here in June still working on the budget like we were last year. And the last thing we need is any incentive to be here in June, which is why I support the Governor’s proposal to limit pay for legislators to only five days of a special session.”
Other legislators expressing support for the Governor’s plan include Senators Bob Beach (Monongalia), Ron Miller (Greenbrier), Richard Ojeda (Logan), Corey Palumbo (Kanawha), Robert Plymale (Wayne), Mike Romano (Harrison), Ron Stollings (Boone), John Unger (Berkeley) and Mike Woelfel.
Delegates Stephen Baldwin (Greenbrier), Mick Bates (Raleigh), Scott Brewer (Mason), Andrew Byrd (Kanawha), Joe Canestraro (Marshall), Mike Caputo (Marion), Phil Diserio (Brooke), Jeff Eldridge (Lincoln), Barbara Fleischauer (Monongalia), Shawn Fluharty (Ohio), Bill Hartman (Randolph), Ken Hicks (Wayne), Richard Iaquinta (Harrison), Linda Longstreth (Marion), Chad Lovejoy (Cabell), Dana Lynch (Webster), Justin Marcum (Mingo), Rodney Miller (Boone), Mike Pushkin (Kanawha), Andrew Robinson (Kanawha), Ralph Rodighiero (Logan) and John Williams (Monongalia) also support the measure.