Charleston, WV - During the House Floor Session today, a bipartisan group of Republicans and Democrats rejected the band-aid approach by the Republican Leadership to raise taxes on consumers in a way that will not solve our state’s budgetary problems.
“The $0.45/pack increase would have unfairly burdened West Virginia taxpayers without fixing the massive budget hole or having a significant impact on smoking in our state,” Minority Leader Tim Miley (D-Harrison) stated.
Republicans have failed to show leadership in developing a budget solution. “The Republican tax increase does not fix the problem,” Miley stated. “It does not fully fund PEIA nor does it fix our budget hole. If you are going to propose tax increases, at least do it in a meaningful way to fix our state’s problems!”
Several members expressed concern that this tax did nothing to discourage people from smoking and had no significant impact on the health of our residents. “This bill is a nicotine patch- not a fix for our budget and not a fix for West Virginia’s health,” Delegate Mick Bates (D-Raleigh) stated. “It disproportionately balances our budget on the backs on those that can least afford it without an adequate incentive for them to quit,” Bates added.
“When Republican leadership is serious about addressing the budget crisis, we hope that they will present real solutions to the real problems facing this state so we can all tackle this budget crisis together,” Miley stated. “This is a band-aid approach to get us through the November election to come back in and raise more taxes,” Miley continued. “I call upon the Republican Leadership to fix the problem now and address it in a bipartisan manner.”