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Tight Budget Expected For 2014 Legislative Session

Reported: Jan. 8, 2014 6:31 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 8, 2014 6:40 PM EST
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Senate President Jeff Kessler gavels in the fist meeting of the 2014 legislative session.

With Governor Earl Ray Tomblin set to deliver his State of the State address, its expected expected lawmakers are facing a tight budget as they work over the next two months.

"I think it will be an overriding factor in the legislation that is advanced only because of the fact that most of the things we pass have a fiscal impact," Kessler said.

Kessler says money woes will probably negate any more tax cuts, but if the governor can come up with a plan he would support teacher pay raises.

"That's something I think if the governor can find a way to make it happen I think you'll find some support for that," Kessler said.

Both Kessler and House Speaker Tim Miley say focusing on spurring economic growth is a top priority of this session. Miley says delegates will have to find creative ways to fund programs in the face of shrinking revenue.

"Some things you want to implement cost money to do so," Miley said. "Now that doesn't mean that its bad policy if it does cost money it just means that you have to have money to implement it and do good things out there in our communities. With a tight budget we may not have that luxury."

Miley says he wants to focus on education, energy and the economy, steering away from social issues which threaten to divide the house and stall any potential progress.

"If we want to come down here and introduce and move all these social issues that are just dividing people then you're right, we won't get much accomplished," Miley said. "I prefer to get things accomplished to benefit the people we represent back home."



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