West Virginia COVID-19 budget bailout may be in trouble

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — With more federal aid coming to states including West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice says Congress has still not changed the rules to let states use that money to offset state budget deficits, which in West Virginia could reach 500 million dollars.

“The rules do not give us the opportunity to backfill revenue, as they stand today. But those rules we feel like are absolutely move in our direction. And we think that is probably a 10-day to two-week process,” says Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.

In other developments, the governor says after a number of nursing home “hot spots” were declared, which is where most of the deaths have occurred, 36 percent of all long-term care patients and employees in the state have been retested, and the rest will be done within a week. The governor also hopes to announce plans soon on partially reopening the state economy, but there’s a lot to consider.

“That our border areas are the ones that are most susceptible. Certainly looking at the Eastern Panhandle that’s adjacent to the Washington, DC-Baltimore area, which is an area that’s really become a hot-spot,” says Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia COVID-19 Czar.

Meanwhile, the governor also announced that the entire backlog of 150,000 unemployment claims filed in West Virginia during March and April has now been processed.

“On Friday at 10 p.m., Workforce West Virginia will begin accepting unemployment claims from the self-employed and independent contractors, such as Uber drivers. The goal is to get those workers unemployment benefits soon, as well,” says Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

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