CHARLESTON – As the budget blues continue, Delegates and Senators are working around the clock to find solutions to fix West Virginia’s ailing budget. Governor Tomblin recently vetoed a budget that passed both houses and dipped into the State’s Rainy Day fund taking nearly 25 percent of the State’s savings. Delegate Justin Marcum (D-20) was never in favor of that budget and stated “it was a one time fix that had negative long term implications on our State’s savings account.”
Following the veto, Governor Tomblin called legislators back into Session beginning Saturday, June 12, 2016. Governor Tomblin has proposed a sixty five cent increase in the State’s cigarette tax as one way of patching the budget.
Delegates Marcum and Ralph Rodighiero (Logan) have a different viewpoint. The two coalfield delegates are in favor of a 3-percent tax increase on those making over $250,000.00 a year and a one (1)-percent increase on those making over $150,000.00. Marcum and Rodighiero sent the Bill for drafting and are looking for it to be entered when the legislature returns on Saturday.
Marcum believes this tax is fair, doesn’t hurt the middle class, and will provide the additional funds needed to repair the budget. He also believes this would be a long term solution, not a one time fix. “If we can pass this, we can focus on the future. The ultra-wealthy can afford this nominal increase in their taxes while the working, middle class cannot. We must fight for and protect the middle class of West Virginia who contribute so much to our great state”, stated Marcum. He added that it was “vital that we eliminate government waste and pass this tax increase on the ultra-wealthy so we will have the money to permanently fix PEIA, fix our roads, and focus on bringing more jobs to the State.”
Delegate Rodighiero agreed with Delegate Marcum. “We both cannot support an increase such a small segment of our population and the cigarette tax is not a permanent fix to our State’s budget. With the passage of this tax increase we can fix West Virginia’s budget problems while not hurting the lower and middle class workers of our State,” stated Delegate Rodighiero.
The legislature returns to work Saturday, June 12, 2016.