CHARLESTON – Senate President Bill Cole, R-Mercer, issued the following statement about the West Virginia Senate's vote to pass a $1 per pack tax increase on tobacco:
"It is unfortunate that throughout this entire legislative session, the opposing side has continued to play political gamesmanship with the funding of PEIA. Today’s vote to raise the tobacco tax $1 a pack ultimately will do nothing to fix the problem or fill the budget shortfall. A tax increase of that size would hurt our border retailers, and the loss of that tax revenue would more than offset the amount the $1 per pack hike is projected to raise. The West Virginia Senate, in its current budget bill, has fully funded PEIA for Fiscal Year 2017, and we will do so regardless of what combination of tax increases or spending cuts are proposed and accepted."