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Senate panel adds to tobacco tax increase

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Senate Finance Committee added its own increase to a proposed tobacco tax increase Tuesday evening.

The committee approved the advancement of SB 420 to the Senate floor after it voted to bring the total tobacco tax in West Virginia to $1.55 in an attempt to alleviate some of the $120 million in financial woes of the state-supported Public Employees Insurance Agency, or PEIA.

The original version of the bill proposed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin had included increasing the state’s current tobacco tax of 55 cents by 45 cents, making the total tax $1, and raised a tax on other tobacco products and taxed e-cigarettes.

The amendment proposed by Sen. Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, added an additional 55-cent increase to the governor’s proposal…

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