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Report: WV May Be Short-Changed $96 Million

March 22, 2007

Uncle Sam wants West Virginia to come up with more money. That's according to a new report from "First Things First" that shows President Bush's proposed federal budget means almost $100 million less for the state. It's money used for things like K-12 education, higher education, home heating bill assistance and sewage system upgrades. Ted Boettner with the Mountain State Education and Research Foundation says it's a big gap for the state to fill.

"The state has to make up for that money, and that can have huge consequences. That means property taxes will have to be raised or revenues will have to be found somewhere else."

Boettner believes West Virginia won't be able to cut services to match the federal funding cuts, because folks expect the basics.

"Public education, higher education, Head Start will get cut. It's going to be very difficult to make up for this lost revenue."

Boettner says the U.S. has the money to fully fund obligations to states, but proposed expanded spending for the Pentagon budget and the latest round of tax cuts have put the overall budget in a pinch. He says rolling back some of the tax cuts would balance the budget. Congressional budget committees have been cool to many of the proposed state funding cuts.

The full report is at www.wvcag.org.

Deborah Smith/Deb Courson, Public News Service - WV