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Raleigh delegate says House not close on budget talks

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Raleigh delegate says House not close on budget talks
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

BECKLEY, W.Va. -- A delegate involved in the state budget negotiations said Thursday on MetroNews Talkline the House Democrats and Republicans haven’t reached a consensus on what a new budget should look like.

“My assessment is we’re fundamentally not a whole lot closer than what we were when we left town,” Delegate Mick Bates (D-Raleigh) said.

The divide comes in the area of the tobacco tax increase. Many House Republicans aren’t willing to consider an increase while Democrats are, Bates said.

“You’ve got a commitment to talk but you have not commitment to an agreement,” Bates said. “The Senate and the governor appears to be somewhat on the same page but the House itself, the Republican majority, the Democrat Minority seem to have very, very different approaches.”

The budget hole is $270 million. A tax increase would help, but more than 20 House Republicans have taken a no tax pledge, Bates said.