CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With less than two days left in the regular legislative session, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is ready to throw dirt on his plan to use rainy day fund interest to help meet rising costs in the state's Medicaid program.
The measure passed the Senate on April Fools' Day but has since stalled in the House Finance Committee.
"We knew it probably would," Tomblin said. "I do not expect to see it pass."
At Tomblin's request, Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, introduced Senate Bill 191 in February. The bill would have directed all investment earnings from the state's "Rainy Day B" fund to the state's Medicaid program.
At the end of March, the state's primary rainy day fund contained $565.4 million. The Rainy Day B account, which cannot be spent until all funds from the primary account are exhausted, contained $352.6 million.
State Budget Director Mike McKown said the secondary fund records investment earnings in some years and loses in others but since 2006 has earned an average $10 million per year.
The fund earned $9.3 million in fiscal year 2012 but has made $24.9 million in the first nine months of fiscal year 2013.
Currently, all the investment earnings remain in the account.
Tomblin said Senate Bill 191 was an attempt to satisfy the expectations of Wall Street rating agencies, who determine the state's bond rating and, therefore, its borrowing capacity.
Tomblin said he is not giving up on the measure, however, and likely would bring up the bill next year.