Special session begins Monday; Cole calls Tomblin’s tax proposals to balance budget a ‘non-starter’
By Matt Maccaro, WV MetroNews
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Add Sen. President and GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Cole to the list of Republicans in the legislature who aren’t pleased with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s plan to balance the state budget.
Tomblin has proposed three separate tax increases — tobacco, telecommunications and sales taxes heading into Monday’s special legislative budget session. Cole called those increases a “non-starter”.
“That isn’t even taking a campaign point of view,” Cole said criticizing the plan. “That’s just simply knowledge of the two bodies of the legislature. There’s just no will for that; it just can’t happen.”
The governor’s bills will be introduced Monday as part of a special session of the legislature. The House and Senate are scheduled to gavel in at noon.
Tomblin also has proposed sweeping unused money from various accounts and pulling from the Rainy Day Fund, along with the ability to furlough state workers in the event of an emergency.
“I’m still with that balanced approach,” Cole said. “I don’t think we do it all in taxes, I don’t think it’s reasonable to do it all in cuts. Not legislatively; I think that’s what the next governor has to do is go in and reform and streamline state government. I do believe there’s plenty of ways to be had.”
Sen. Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael and House Speaker Tim Armstead also criticized the proposed tax hikes last week.
The new budget year begins July 1.