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House Speaker: There are other ways to fill budget shortfall without tobacco tax bill
By Shauna Johnson, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Tobacco tax increases are no longer in the mix of possible funding sources as state lawmakers continue work at the State Capitol to close an estimated shortfall of between $160 million and $180 million in the next West Virginia budget.

House Speaker Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha, 40) said all was not lost,...


Severance tax cuts for coal, natural gas advance in legislature
By MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Senate has passed and sent to the House a bill that lowers the severance tax on coal and natural gas. SB 705 lowers the current five percent tax by one percent a year for two consecutive fiscal years...


RFRA bill killed by Senate; opponents claim victory
By Matt Maccaro, WV MetroNews

An unlikely coalition killed an amended version of the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act Wednesday night in the state Senate.

Democrats who opposed the legislation to begin with, and GOP Senators who preferred the original House bill and didn’t think the amended bill went far enough, combined to vote down the bill on third reading, 27-7.



Senate approves bill changing makeup of PEIA Finance Board
By WV MetroNews

The State Senate has approved along party lines a bill changing the makeup of the Public Employees Insurance Agency Finance Board. Republican backers say SB 622 is a response to the financial problems with the state’s health insurance program.



Crisis averted, but it leaves us wondering
Thankfully, a tax bill that would have threatened small business gets sidelined

Register-Herald editorial

We know the West Virginia Legislature is facing a monumental task of balancing a state budget that is some $353 million out of whack. And that’s just for the current fiscal year. Next year’s calculations project a yawning $460 million gorge.

So, yes, legislators are looking for more than...