LAWRENCE MESSINA

The Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -While economic woes are forcing many states to lay off or furlough their workers, West Virginia's governor wants to give his a little something extra.

The state has an unexpected $65 million surplus and Gov. Joe Manchin wants to use about half of it to give $500 payments to 51,000 full-time employees. The plan still needs legislative approval.

Manchin had sought a boost for workers earlier this year, but the recession dashed those plans. State law prohibits outright bonuses, so the payments would instead be called salary enhancements.

About $57 million of the surplus came from lottery proceeds and the rest from general tax revenues.

Manchin says that in difficult times, "if you're still able to share, that's unbelievable."