W. Va. House Approves Tobacco Tax, Likely Averts Shutdown

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Likely averting a government shutdown, West Virginia’s House of Delegates has approved higher taxes on cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The GOP-led House voted 63-35 Monday for the tax hike, worth $98 million toward patching a $270 million budget gap. The Republican-majority Senate already passed the increase in a deal with Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

It includes a 65-cent per-pack tax increase on cigarettes.

Tuesday’s vote shatters an impasse that spurred the ongoing 16-day budget session, costing taxpayers $560,000.

Last month, the House killed a $76 million bill with a smaller tobacco tax hike.

Tomblin vetoed a GOP-passed budget last week. It would’ve drained $183 million from state savings.

A new budget proposal uses $70 million in savings.

Without a budget, the government would shut down July 1.