Justice to veto legislation eliminating greyhound racing

Gov. Jim Justice surrounded by House Democrats extended the legislative session by one day Wednesday

On Thursday, the House passed the Senate version of the bill.

Minority Leader Roman Prezioso and other Democrats say the $41.5 million cut to higher education would hurt WVU and the other state schools, while the Department of Health and Human Resources would lose nearly 3.7 percent across the board, much of it matched with federal dollars that would be lost. It would have raised the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, added a corporate revenues tax of 0.00045 percent and in 2018 establish new income tax tiers cutting the current rate 20 percent, he said.

"We're not there yet, but we're close", Justice said as the 60-day legislative session headed toward its close.

Ferns said in his video the second promise the Senate kept was "passing a balanced budget without tax increases". The Senate followed by the House could approve the needed legislation Saturday night or Sunday, he said.

Carmichael said the difference is between spending and the House's position and that the Senate was negotiating with House leadership to lower their budget.

"What happened to them with knowledge of this wasn't fair", Carmichael said.


For the month of March, general revenue fund collections were $331.5 million, $26.3 million above the original budget estimate. He said there is a possibility that the rest could be taken out of the Rainy Day Fund.

He says losing greyhound racing would "mean job losses and fewer people coming to West Virginia".

Traditionally, on the last day of the regular session, the Legislature puts the budget bill into a House-Senate conference committee, which spends three to as many as eight days in extended session to work out an agreement on the spending plan.

"Some of the House amendments to the bill are concerning, but it still has the potential to provide relief to thousands of seriously ill West Virginians", said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), who is a West Virginia native and graduate of West Virginia University. "We can't turn our back on communities like Wheeling that benefit from dog racing".

Justice noted approximately 1,700 jobs are provided in the state through greyhound racing, including operations at Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack and Mardi Gras Resort and Casino.

It was not immediately clear if the Legislature would attempt to override the veto, either before the end of the session or in pending special session.

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