10 Aug W.Va. Could Get Federal Medicaid, Education Funds (WV)

August 10, 2010

By: Ry Rivard
Source: Charleston Daily Mail

West Virginia is set to receive $136 million in federal money if the U.S. House approves a fiscal relief bill Tuesday, according to figures from Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The legislation, which passed the Senate last week, would provide $136 million to West Virginia, including $81 million meant for Medicaid and $55 million meant for education.

The House is planning to return briefly from its August recess to pass the legislation.

"This takes us one step closer to good news for West Virginia’s budget — and our state economy," Ted Boettner, the executive director of the liberal West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, said in a statement. "These funds, along with our recent surplus, will help prevent teacher layoffs and other damaging cuts that ripple through the economy and put the recovery at risk."

The bill includes an extension of an increase in federal matching funds for Medicaid, the state and federal program for the poor. Unlike other states, West Virginia didn’t budget for the match or the federal fiscal relief in the pending legislation. Boettner said that means the money could help the state handle a looming deficit.

In the 2012 budget year, which begins next summer, the state is expecting a $160 million budget gap.

Con gressional Democrats say the legislation will help save the jobs of thousands of teachers, nurses, firefighters and police officers and help the private sector.

Nationwide, it extends matching funds for Medicaid, which is worth $15 billion total for all 50 states, according to the nation budget and policy center. The bill also contains about $10 billion to save school employee jobs across the country.

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