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In November 1968, West Virginians ratified the Modern Budget Amendment. The vote was 323,560 for and 159,255 against, a majority of 164,305. This amendment to the state constitution greatly strengthened the power of the governor of West Virginia, particularly as regards the state’s budget and finances.

Until ratification of the amendment, West Virginia had had a very weak governor, among the weakest in the United States. Previously, West Virginia had been one of only five states not having a chief executive budget system, one where the governor of the state was solely responsible for formulating, presenting, and executing the state’s budget. Instead, from 1863 until 1968 West Virginia had a powerful Board of Public Works, composed of the elected members of the executive branch, including the treasurer, attorney general, secretary of state, auditor, and agricultural commissioner, as well as the governor. This board collectively controlled the state’s finances and budget covering most areas of fiscal control, greatly diluting the power of the governor.

The budget-making powers granted the chief executive in the 1968 amendment were so sweeping that West Virginia’s governor now ranks among the strongest in the United States. In addition, the Modern Budget Amendment gave the governor the power to veto the entire budget bill, any supplementary appropriation bill, or any line item in them, and to reduce any items in the bills. Governor Arch Moore was the first to benefit from the change. The Modern Budget Amendment was one of several amendments passed during Moore’s first two terms that together restructured West Virginia state government.

This Article was written by Donald R. Andrews

Last Revised on October 20, 2010


Sources

Davis, Claude J., et al. State and Local Government. Morgantown Printing & Binding, 1963.

West Virginia Constitution, Article 6, Section 51. Michie's West Virginia Code, Annotated, Vol. 1. Charlottesville: Lexis Pub..

Citizens Advisory Commission on the Legislature of West Virginia. Recommendations for Strengthening the West Virginia Legislature. Final Report. Charleston: Jarrett Printing, 1968.

Cite This Article

Andrews, Donald R. "Modern Budget Amendment." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 20 October 2010. Web. 30 March 2017.

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