By March 9, 2016 Read More →

Senate panel OKs budget bill with House-rejected revenue

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Senate Finance Committee passed a budget bill Tuesday afternoon that includes revenue measures the House of Delegates is unlikely to pass in the next three days.

Those include some revenue enhancements, or tax increases. Senators have passed a $1 per pack cigarette tax increase, a 12 percent tax increase on other tobacco products and imposed a new tax on e-cigarette fluids. In addition, the upper chamber passed a roads bill that would raise $285 million through a 1 percent increase in the sales tax, a 3 cents per gallon increase in the gasoline tax if gas is $2 per gallon or below, hikes in DMV fees and a recalculation of the privilege tax on new vehicle purchases.

But members of the House Committee on Finance have stood their ground, refusing any tax increases proposed by either the Senate or Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

For the budget, the two chambers operate nearly in a vacuum,  each crafting the document based on the bills passed by their own members.

This year though — and Senate Finance Chair Mike Hall, R-Putnam, says there’s never been one like it — Senators are very aware that the House of Delegates has not only not passed any revenue measures, none of the Senate’s bills have left the House Finance Committee.

Instead, House leaders are focused on using money from the state’s Rainy Day Fund, a remedy unlikely to be approved by Tomblin…

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