WV Senators Approve Budget, Tax Hikes

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – With a possible government shutdown looming, West Virginia senators have approved a budget and a bill hiking taxes on cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The GOP-led Senate passed the tobacco tax by a 24-7 margin and the budget 27-4 Saturday.

The fast-tracked bills move to the Republican-majority House, which previously killed a smaller tobacco tax increase.

The new bill, which includes a 65-cent per-pack increase on cigarettes, would raise about $100 million to help cover a $270 million shortfall.

The move follows Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s veto Wednesday of a GOP-approved budget without tax hikes. It stripped $183 million from state savings.

The new budget is an agreement between the governor and Senate. They’re urging the House to follow.

Without a budget, the government shuts down July 1.