Following the recent downgrade of the state’s bond rating by Moody’s Investors Service, Governor Jim Justice is urging the West Virginia Legislature to pass legislation authorizing employee furloughs.
The proposed legislation will give the Governor the ability to issue an executive order to furlough state workers in response to our budget crisis. Also, the bill will define the rights of state employees with respect to their employee benefits during the furlough period, according to a press release from Justice’s office.
For the current budget year, ending June 30, 2017, the expected deficit is over $123 million and next year’s projected budget deficit is approaching $500 million. Failing to pass the Governor’s Save Our State (S.O.S) Budget will make West Virginia’s budget crisis even worse, the press release said.
“Because West Virginia’s finances are such a dog’s mess, furlough legislation is a necessary precaution to stop the bleeding if we don’t act,” said Justice. “West Virginia’s credit was downgraded because our state keeps kicking the can down the road, and it will get worse if we don’t wake up. The longer it takes to pass my Save Our State plan and fix the budget crisis, the deeper we’ll be in the ditch and it will require furloughs.”