West Virginia House panel votes down tobacco tax hike

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – A push to raise West Virginia’s tobacco taxes has been voted down by a House committee, likely killing a second tax increase proposed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

Delegates voted 21-3 Thursday against a bill to raise the cigarette tax by 45 cents to $1, worth $71.5 million yearly.

Delegates opposed a Senate bill including a $1 cigarette increase to $1.55-per-pack, higher taxes on other tobacco products and an e-cigarettes tax.

The Senate version would have yielded $115 million annually.

Tomblin proposed a 45-cent increase and the other tobacco and e-cigarette taxes, worth $78 million annually.

Tomblin spokesman Chris Stadelman called the lack of progress on tobacco taxes disappointing.

Lawmakers didn’t consider Tomblin’s proposed tax on cellphone and landline use, worth $60 million annually.

West Virginia faces a $466 million 2017 budget shortfall.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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