Mar 13, 2012- W.Va. Lawmakers to Stay in Charleston a Little Longer

By: Michael Hyland
By: Michael Hyland

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) issued a proclamation extending the budget session through Friday.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) issued a proclamation extending the budget session through Friday. There could also be a special session later this week to deal with a bill giving tax breaks to help Century Aluminum in Jackson County to re-open.

Here's a breakdown of what's dominating the budget talks:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Medicaid is expected to be a recurring topic as West Virginia lawmakers complete a new state budget this week.

The state-federal health care program is driving up state spending. But officials say the reasons have nothing to do with the recent federal health care overhaul.

Medical inflation and a decline in federal matching funds are among the culprits. As a result, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has proposed increasing the state's share of Medicaid funding by $132 million.

The governor has updated his budget proposal twice since January, and added more money for Medicaid each time. Lawmakers also recently increased Medicaid funding in the current budget.

This approach aims to bank funds both for the new budget year and the one after that. But the House and Senate must now agree.

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