CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Senate Finance Committee members unanimously approved a 45-cent increase in cigarette taxes Tuesday — after rejecting a $1-a-pack hike on a party line 9-8 vote.
Proponents of sticking with the 45-cent increase proposed in the Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s tobacco tax bill (SB 1005) argued that is the maximum amount of tax that can pass the House of Delegates in the special session.
“I would love to have a dollar increase in the cigarette tax, but I know it can’t happen,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, argued. “I know we can get a 45-cent tobacco tax increase and it will do good.”
Sen. Chris Walters, R-Putnam, concurred, noting, “A vote for a dollar this time will be almost certain death for the tobacco tax when it gets to the House. That’s the reality of where we’re at: 45 keeps it alive…