Cumberland Times-News

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June 28, 2013

W.Va. cutting $20M from Medicaid to balance books

Move will not affect ongoing services

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin ordered an emergency $20 million cut from Medicaid reserve funding on Friday to ensure the state would end its budget year Sunday with spending and revenues balanced.

The Democrat said in his executive order that the move will help the state offset a general revenue shortfall projected to total $93 million, or 2 percent below the nearly $4.15 billion the state expected to collect from these taxes during the budget year.

To avoid a budget deficit, which the West Virginia Constitution forbids, the Legislature previously cut $28 million from current spending at Tomblin’s request.

The state drained a $45 million special account for paying income tax refunds.

Because the cut targets funds to be banked for future budget years, Friday’s move will not affect ongoing health care services, acting Revenue Secretary Jason Pizatella said.

“This is purely a timing and cash flow issue,” Pizatella said Friday, adding, “We will ask the Legislature to restore what we’ve cut the next time they convene.”

Medicaid has placed increasing pressure on the state’s annual spending plan.

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