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Budget battle continues in WV

March 29th, 2017 by WCBC Radio

A day after suggestions of increased optimism over negotiations for a potential compromise on the 2017-18 budget bill, West Virginia Senate leadership tossed in what could be a major setback Tuesday with a proposed amendment to a governor’s bill — an amendment that critics argued was merely intended to get the Senate on record voting against the governor’s previous tax increase proposals.

“It’s a total sham. It’s a political ploy,” Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, said of the amendment offered by Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio. “That’s about as low as I’ve seen.”

Ferns argued the amendment, which included many of Gov. Jim Justice’s initial proposals to raise revenue, including a .25 percent increase in the sales tax, a tobacco tax hike and a tax on sugary soft drinks, was merely an opportunity for senators to “let the governor know” where they stand on tax increases.

Senate Democrats contended the proposals were old news, and that budget negotiations are progressing.

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