Cuts, weak growth hem in W.Va. budget picture

SOUTH CHARLESTON (AP) — Budget cuts called for by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will shave $75 million from state spending.

That’s the estimate Thursday from West Virginia Budget Director Mike McKown at The Associated Press’ annual Legislative Lookahead forum.

McKown said the cuts helped balance the budget proposal that Tomblin will send to the Legislature next week.

But McKown noted that large parts of the budget were exempt from the 7.5 percent cuts. Those areas include public education and corrections.

McKown said Medicaid is driving the budget crunch. Every 1 percent drop in federal funding means the state must add $30 million to its share.

Tomblin re-affirmed his opposition to new or increased taxes Thursday. Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow meanwhile warned of little or no growth from existing tax collections.

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