Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Update on Budget Digest

The House and Senate Budget Conferees of the West Virginia Legislature have decided to work on drafting the 2006 Budget Digest in hopes that the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals will lift its stay, according to an article in today's Charleston Gazette. On December 1, 2004 the state's high Court issued the stay specifically preventing approval or adoption of a Budget Digest for 2006 by the Legislature.

The pending lawsuit was filed on behalf of a West Virginian who lost her home to a predatory lender. The suit alleges that the foreclosure resulted from state funds diverted through the Budget Digest which should have gone to the State Ethics Commission for cracking down on predatory lenders.

The Budget Digest is technically a list of recommendations for the spending of state funds. Opponents claim it has the force of more than just suggestion, because state agencies fear fiscal retaliation if they choose not to follow the Digest's recommendations. For more information about the Budget Digest and this lawsuit see the West Virginia Elder Advocacy article about it from Winter 2004.

The Budget Digest traditionally provides some funds for aging programs across the state each year, so the outcome of the lawsuit will have an impact on West Virginia seniors.

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