CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia House of Delegates adjourned Saturday, March 9 at midnight after having completed 280 bills, including Senate Bill 200, the budget bill. The bill, which goes next to the governor for action, covers Fiscal Year 2025: July 1, 2024 through June 30, 2025. It totals $4,996 million (or $4.996 billion would be correct, one or the other) in General Revenue funds and includes pay raises for state workers whose pay scales are in state code. State Police personnel would receive a $2,900 annual salary increase, teachers will receive a $2,460 annual pay increase, and school service personnel would receive an additional $140 a month. The budget bill also empowers state agencies with the authority to give all other state employees raises if funds are available to do so. The full Legislature unanimously passed a bill to eliminate the state income tax on social security benefits through a three-year phase-out. Under this proposal, like the one enacted in 2019, all the taxable social security benefits received in 2026 and beyond would be exempt from tax. Members of the House of Delegates stopped to applaud after taking the vote to pass it on to the governor just after 10 p.m. Saturday. Finance Committee Chairman Vernon Criss, R-Wood, had told members of his committee to think of the budget adopted during the 60-day regular legislative session as “act one.” Senate Bill 200 listed nine items in Section 9, what commonly gets referred to as “back of the budget” directives for surplus money generally allotted for one-time spending. Criss reiterated Saturday to the full House that additional budget adjustments would be made once the executive receives clarity from the federal government about education spending levels. “We’re still working with a shortened situation because of the federal situation,” he said, indicating an extraordinary session is expected to coincide with already-scheduled May interim committee meetings. “We’ll have another two-and-a-half months of revenues in front of us and we can take these items and adjust them upward.” The Legislature also passed a bill to hold stable the state’s unemployment trust fund, which has been paying out between $2 million and $3 million than it’s been bringing in. The measure that advanced to the governor for action would freeze employer contributions to the fund, keeps the maximum weekly benefit at $662 and holds the maximum number of weeks a person could receive benefits to 26 weeks