West Virginia Governor Vetoes Budget

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – As promised, Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has vetoed the budget passed by the Republican-led Legislature.

In Wednesday’s veto, Tomblin also announced a deal with the Senate that includes a 65-cent tax increase on cigarettes. He beckoned the House to endorse it.

Lawmakers return Sunday. Without a budget, the government shuts down July 1.

Tomblin consistently said he wouldn’t approve a plan dependent on single-year patches. He offered several tax increase ideas.

GOP lawmakers passed their plan last week to cover a $270 million gap without raising taxes. Tomblin wrote that the plan irresponsibly sweeps $292 million in one-time cash, including almost $190 million from reserves.

Tomblin called lawmakers into session May 16. It lasted 13 days and cost taxpayers $455,000. Lawmakers didn’t pass a budget in the allotted 60-plus days starting in January.