Get Budget Bill Introduced

Bills on several topics have been introduced during the special session of the West Virginia Legislature that began Monday. Some are related to taxes and fees the state charges. There is a proposal to give teachers a 2 percent pay raise. Another measure would make medicinal marijuana subject to the sales tax.

Something is badly wrong with this picture. What is missing is a state General Revenue Fund budget bill.

Multiple proposals to restructure the state tax system have been made and discussed during the past few weeks. Gov. Jim Justice and some legislators favor a plan that allegedly would reduce taxes paid by West Virginians, while providing more money for the general revenue fund.

But this is getting the cart before the horse. How can lawmakers decide how much the general revenue fund should have without seeing the governor’s proposed budget, which lays out in thousands of line items precisely how the money is to be spent?

Passing tax bills without a budget is something like handing a teenager a wad of currency and telling him to go to the store — but neglecting to mention what he’s supposed to buy.

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