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Legislative leaders rule out tax hikes to balance budget

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Leaders of the state Senate and House of Delegates say tax increases are out of the question when it comes to balancing West Virginia’s budget.

Lawmakers, who convene Jan. 13, will look at creative ways to trim spending and probably dip into the rainy-day fund again to make ends meet, they say.

“We’re facing a budget crisis like we’ve never faced before in West Virginia at a time when the needs of so many are the greatest,” Senate President Bill Cole, R-Mercer, acknowledged.

“But I am going to fight with every energy I have against tax increases,” added Cole, who is considering running for governor. “West Virginians who are still lucky enough to have jobs can’t afford the extra burden.”

The House is equally reluctant to raise taxes to fill any potential gaps in the current state budget or the 2016-17 spending plan, Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, said…

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