CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Senate has heeded Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's call to cut $28 million from the current state budget.A bill passed unanimously to the House on Wednesday responds to faltering tax revenues and the governor's recent hiring freeze.The cuts include $4.3 million for local economic development aid. Another $3.5 million reflects Public Employees Insurance Agency premium subsidies.
Around $8.8 million in cuts follow through on Tomblin's March 19 order that halted hiring and left vacancies unfilled until June 30. That freeze applies to the governor's office and Cabinet.Administration officials say the other cuts are of spending that the department secretaries believe can wait until the next budget year.Officials fear general tax revenues will fall $60 million to $70 million below this budget year's estimates.