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Phil Kabler

Staff writer
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New prevailing wage method won’t change much, union leader says

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New methodology for calculating prevailing wage rates for state-funded construction projects is not likely to dramatically change wages for construction workers — and in parts of the state, will probably mean high...

Commission to study how to maintain racing industries

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Recognizing that the state’s racing industry faces a “changing and challenging atmosphere,” the state Racing Commission Tuesday voted to create a committee to study ways to maint...

Workforce West Virginia submits new prevailing wage rules

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Calculation of prevailing wage rates will be simpler, more streamlined, and its designers hope, more accurate — under new rules submitted Monday by WorkForce West Virginia.

Under legislation passed this sess...

Lottery rakes in $1 billion again, but not as quickly

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Earlier this month, the West Virginia Lottery broke the $1 billion mark for gross revenue for the 14th consecutive year, monthly Lottery reports show.

However, in light of declining revenues — primarily beca...

2 companies tie as low bidders on WV Capitol Complex renovation

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A nearly eight-year saga for plans to renovate Capitol Complex Building 3 reached a new milestone Wednesday when bid openings for a scaled-back design to renovate the historic West Virginia office building ended in a tie...

Holiday weekend travel up 5 percent from last year

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Lower gas prices and good weather proved to be the right combination for higher-than-expected Memorial Day weekend traffic on the West Virginia Turnpike, Parkways Authority general manager Greg Barr said Tuesday.

T...

Casinos will no longer have biggest part of tourism advertising grants

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State Tourism Commissioners Thursday repealed a long-standing preference that provided the state’s four racetrack casinos with the lion’s share of funding for tourism advertising matching grants.

With...

Blue Ribbon panel: Raise WV Turnpike tolls to fund highways repair

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After a 20-month hiatus, the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways on Wednesday adopted recommendations to increase funding for West Virginia roadways — recommendations that are essentially unchange...

Report: Rural WV roads, bridges among worst in nation

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West Virginia has some of the most deteriorated and dangerous rural roads in America, a new report by the Washington-based national transportation research group TRIP shows.

Released Tuesday, the report found that ...

WV lawmaker: Tax reform alone isn’t enough

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After day-long testimony Monday from academics and experts from national organizations, a co-chairman of the legislative Select Committee on Tax Reform said reform ultimately may not mean big c...

Statehouse Beat: Cash-strapped counties can’t absorb another tax cut

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Although today marks only the second major meeting of the legislative Select Committee on Fair Taxation, many observers believe that among the taxes subject to the committee’s slashing will be personal property ta...

W.Va. election commission approves changes for nonpartisan judicial elections

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State Election commissioners on Friday approved preliminary changes to bring state election regulations in line with new laws and court rulings.

That includes changing rules for public financing of state Supreme Co...

Long-awaited WV highways report out next week

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A long-awaited, much-delayed report on ways to increase state funding for highways construction and maintenance will be released next week, Administration Secretary Jason Pizatella confirmed Thursday.

The final rep...

State’s tobacco settlement payments have been steady

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Payments to the state from major cigarette manufacturers under the national Tobacco Settlement Agreement has held steady at about $63 million a year for the past two years.

Financial advisor Paul Creedon told the s...

Tourism Commissioners debate matching grants

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Members of the state Tourism Commission Wednesday debated ways to more equitably distribute ever-shrinking state funds for advertising matching grants – possibly including eliminating preferences for the state...

Craft beer predicted to grow under new WV law

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Tourism Commissioner Amy Shuler Goodwin said Monday she’s confident the number of craft brewers in West Virginia will double from the current 11 with new legislation that lowers li...

Agenda set for governor’s Japan trip

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A nine-day trade mission to Japan to mark the 25th anniversary of the state’s development office in Nagoya will include stops in that city, along with Yokohama and Tokyo and receptions marking the anniversary in b...

Statehouse Beat: What’s behind tax reform push?

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Despite its mandate to “aggressively cut taxes” in order to spur economic growth, the first significant meeting of the legislative Select Committee on Fair Taxation seemed more like a solution in search of ...

Ethics Commission approves trinkets law rules

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When it came to writing rules for enforcing a new state law barring public officials from using public funds for self-promotional trinkets, advertising or entertainment, the Ethics Commission Thursday decided less is mor...

Ethics panel approves deals for Harrison commissioner, Raleigh assessor

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State Ethics Commissioners approved Thursday a number of settlement agreements and orders for violations of the state Ethics Act, handing down fines and reprimands for violations including a county commissioner who bille...

Strong April tax collections should mean balanced budget for WV, Kiss says

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Strong tax collections in April should put the state in line to finish the 2014-15 budget year with a balanced budget, Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss said Tuesday.

“I think we’re on target to come in with...

Tax reform panel urged to move with caution

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Administration officials Monday urged a legislative Select Committee on Tax Reform to act cautiously and deliberatively in revamping a tax system they said is competitive with surrounding state...

Statehouse Beat: Unproductive 2015 session not a bad thing

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Given that the 2015 legislative session was an especially regressive one, it’s probably just as well that for most legislators, it was also a particularly unproductive session.

More than half of the Legislat...

Lottery revenues still down from last year

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West Virginia Lottery revenues of $102.2 million in March were up 8 percent over February, but were down $8 million compared to March 2014, as revenues from the state’s four racetrack casinos continue to fade in t...

Poor road conditions leading to more claims against state

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Jennifer Dorsey received $691.98 in damages after her 2007 Volvo struck a large hole on Interstate 77 south near Sissonville.

Chad Johnson received a $250 settlement for $620.38 in damage claims after his 2006 Chev...

Deal reached in Raleigh assessor’s ethics case

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A hearing scheduled for Monday for Raleigh County Assessor Drema Bias Evans on charges of violating the state Ethics Act has been postponed, pending a tentative settlement agreement, Ethics Commission Executive Director ...

Statehouse Beat: Next governor will have difficult job

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After months of speculation, it was a little anti-climatic when Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced he was staying put in Washington rather than opting for a third term as governor.

While some state Democrats were...

Tourism Commission approves advertising grants

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Meeting at Stonewall Resort State Park Thursday, the state Tourism Commission approved $1.19 million of tourism advertising matching grants, known as MAPP grants.

As always, the state’s racetrack casinos and...

State Medicaid costs grow

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Medicaid costs accounted for 11.4 percent of the state’s general revenue budget in 2013, up from 8 percent in 2000, a study released Wednesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows.

Still, that was below the na...

Deadline to avoid PEIA deductible increase coming up

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After years of offering proverbial carrots, the Public Employees Insurance Agency is using a stick approach to get members more involved in taking care of their health: Non-compliers will have their medical deductible in...

Manchin says governor/Senate decision one of toughest

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Deciding to stay in the U.S. Senate instead of running for a third term as governor in 2016 was the “second-toughest decision of my political life,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., told reporters Monday.

&...

PEIA faces cuts to health insurance

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Short of the governor approving more than $100 million in new state funding for premium increases, the Public Employees Insurance Agency Finance Board will have to steel itself this fall to come up with cuts in benefits ...

State will save more than $53M in retirement cuts

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New legislation cutting retirement benefits for public school and state employees hired on or after July 1 ultimately will save the state more than $53 million a year in pension costs, Consolidated Public Retirement Boar...

Tomblin warns tax panel to be ‘fiscally responsible’

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Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is taking a cautious approach to the newly formed legislative Joint Select Committee on Tax Reform, calling on panel to be mindful of the state’s “fiscally responsible policies”...

W.Va.’s drop in ALEC report cited in tax reform push

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Launching the inaugural meeting of a new legislative interim committee on tax reform Monday, Senate President Bill Cole, R-Mercer, cited the American Legislative Exchange Council’s “Rich States, Poor States...

Repairing potholes will “take time,” DOH official says

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State Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox asked legislators for patience as Division of Highways crews repair potholes caused by severe winter weather in February and March.

“Our maintenance crews are busy ...