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WV lawmakers downplay allegiance to tax pledge

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Three local delegates whose names appear on the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, sponsored by Washington lobbyist Grover Norquist, say they signed the pledge when they first ran for office, and they don’t believe it is still binding.

The pledge has become an issue with some lawmakers because of the state’s looming budget crisis, now at $271 million for 2016 and 2017. Secretary of Revenue Bob Kiss has said the state “has a revenue problem,” but some legislators are unresponsive when it comes to raising taxes to keep the state fiscally afloat.

House Majority Whip John O’Neal said he signed the pledge “six years ago or so,” when he became aware of the opportunity.

“I stand by a commitment to the taxpayers of my district. I have no intention of voting for any kind of tax increase…

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