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With tobacco tax up in smoke, Senate sets sights on sales tax increase
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

The state Senate Finance Committee began working Tuesday on Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s bill to raise the Consumer Sales Tax by one percent in hopes of generating new revenue to fill a budget hole topping $200 million for next fiscal year.

Tuesday marked the 11th day of the special session on the budget. Senators earlier narrowly passed Tomblin’s 45-cent...


Family, friends mourn death of state superintendent's wife
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The wife of West Virginia School Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano died Tuesday morning.

State Department of Education Communications Director Kristin Anderson confirmed the death Tuesday afternoon.

“We are asking everyone to respect Dr. Martirano’s privacy and keep him and his family in their thoughts during this extremely difficult time...


Chamber sends open letter to selected lawmakers on tobacco tax
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce doesn’t believe the tobacco tax increase issue is dead in the Legislature’s special session on the state  budget.

Steve Roberts called the chamber “optimistic” about an increase even though it was rejected last week in the House of Delegates.

“We think when all is said and done that...


Gazette editorial: Summer of work, or self-induced crisis

Republicans took control of the Legislature — and West Virginia’s government is on the brink of collapse. The current special session is costing taxpayers perhaps a half-million dollars at $35,000 per day.

If it can’t attain a balanced budget by July 1, when the next fiscal year begins, massive state layoffs may occur and crucial services may halt.

Legislators have only one absolute duty: to raise...


House approves proposed 2017 budget with list of cuts, $143 million from Rainy Day funds
By Shauna Johnson, WV MetroNews

Five weeks ahead of the start of the 2017 fiscal year in West Virginia, the House of Delegates approved a budget bill with a 61-37 vote on Friday afternoon at the State Capitol and sent it on to the Senate for consideration after Memorial Day.