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Tomblin's purchasing, state reserves bills die

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Proposals to change West Virginia purchasing rules and increase its emergency reserves won't pass this legislative session.

The House Finance Committee decided to request studies of both topics Wednesday instead of advancing bills from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's agenda.

The governor sought to require annual training for top executive branch officials on purchasing rules. That bill also would have banned the practice known as the secondary bid process, by which state agencies have tacked additional goods or services onto an existing contract. A recent legislative audit criticized the practice and questioned whether it was legal, when it was used in the multimillion-dollar purchase of high-end Internet routers with federal stimulus grant funds.

The other measure renewed Tomblin's push to enlarge the state's main Rainy Day fund. The governor wants to deposit half of any annual general tax revenue surplus into that reserve until it equals 15 percent of general revenue spending. The Rainy Day fund has reached the current cap of 13 percent -- giving West Virginia one of the healthiest reserves among the states when measured against spending.

The governor on Wednesday cited how ample reserves have improved the state's credit scores on Wall Street.

"We're trying to make sure that the expectations of the bond rating agencies are met,'' Tomblin told The Associated Press in advance of the House Finance meeting.

The demise of these two measures follows Tuesday's rejection of his proposal to weigh how pending legislation might affect jobs. The House Judiciary Committee voted it down after numerous amendments.

 


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