CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Lawmakers are trying to move quickly on budget discussions this week, cautiously projecting that a final bill will be ready for the governor Wednesday.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin authorized an extended session of the Legislature this week to hammer out details of a budget that eclipses $4 billion. The regular 60-day session ended at midnight Saturday.
Leadership in the House and Senate said Monday they were "pretty close" to finalizing the details.
"When there's not a lot of money, there's not a lot to fight over," said Senate Finance Chairman Roman Prezioso, D-Marion.
Each chamber prepares a budget, but they alternate years on starting the process. The House began crafting the budget this year; the first chamber approves its bill, the other chamber expresses differences, and the two assign a joint panel to forge a compromise version.
That traditionally has required an extended session.
Although most members of the House and Senate remain in Charleston for the special budget session, only seven people from each chamber serve on the joint panel.
That committee met for the first time late Monday, laying out a game plan for the week.
The committee always approves line items that deal with federal money right away because there are no differences, said House Finance Chairman Harry Keith White, D-Mingo.
Then, the committee tends to go through line items funded by state money that are also the same in both chambers. Once those are handled, White said the committee could start to look at differences.