Senate passes budget that dips into reserve

CHARLESTON (AP) — The West Virginia Senate has passed a budget bill that dips into the state’s reserve funds by $125 million to balance the 2015 budget.

Finance Chair Roman Prezioso said a House lottery bill still under consideration would cut the amount needed from the Rainy Day fund by $40 million. House Bill 4333 redistributes lottery proceeds that currently go to greyhound breeders.

Prezioso said $220 million is the amount that can be spent from the nearly $1 billion reserve fund without jeopardizing bond ratings.

He said if tax revenues aren’t increased during the next legislative session, he expects a significant portion of the fund will be needed to balance the 2016 budget.

The House is scheduled to pass a budget measure Friday and a compromise reached during next week’s extended session.

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