West Virginia lawmakers return to brighter outlook

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - With an uptick in West Virginia's economy, state lawmakers will return to the Capitol in January facing fewer budget troubles and hard choices than the last time.
    
And with a recently-minted GOP governor, Charleston, like Washington, will be in full Republican control.
    
Gov. Jim Justice switched parties in August after getting elected as a Democrat in 2016.
    
Senate President Mitch Carmichael says there's now "a philosophical alignment" that is "pro-jobs, pro-growth, pro-coal, pro-natural resources" that may not have been the case before.
    
He predicts with the improving economy and tax collections, next year's budget will be passed before the two-month legislative session ends in mid-March.
    
Carmichael says legislators also will consider measures to advance natural gas drilling, cut business inventory taxes and provide free community and technical college to West Virginians.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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