Taxes on cigarettes are growing

The bill, which would raise taxes on cigarettes in West Virginia to help pay for better health of the state 1.8 million people are currently introduced in both houses, as the state legislature is close to halfway through the 2009 regular session.

Sen. Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, is a leading sponsor of SB420, which would increase the excise tax on a pack of cigarettes from 55 cents to $ 1.20 on average across the country. A companion bill (HB2746) was introduced in the House of Delegate Don Perdue, D-Wayne.

The $110 million in increased tax revenue each year that would result if the tax is increased would be used to help promote healthy lifestyles for the state’s 1.8 million residents. Perdue said he expects the Senate to take up the bill first.

Another bill recommended by the interim study and presented last week, would require chain restaurants post calorie counts in places where visitors can easily see the information. He also faces serious opposition from the restaurant business.

There was also bad news for the governor and legislative leaders last week on the expected budget surplus of $ 22 million at the end of the fiscal year of the state on June 30. Deputy Secretary Mark Muchow income said loss of tax revenue could force the Governor Joe Manchin to review its proposed 2009-2010 state budget for the year starting July 1, 2009.

Muchow said tax revenues February was $ 45 million less than predicted, prompting House Finance Chairman Harry K. White, D-Mingo, to predict that the governor “is likely to come to us for the next week or so with a decrease in forecast revenues next budget year.”

The first bill to reduce taxes and cleared its first committee last week, when the House Agriculture Committee approved HB2521, which will lead to a decrease in the wholesale tax on heating oil, kerosene, propane and other fuel supply road.

Delegate Harold Michael, D-Hardy, is one of the sponsors of the bill, and he said that it would cost the state about $ 1.8 million. According to him, the law removes the portion of fuel taxes dedicated to highway funding, because “it was never intended that these products are to pay tax on road users.”

Legislation has also been introduced on both sides (SB92 and HB2931) on the abolition of the severance tax on timber for the next three years, which would reduce state revenues by $ 1 million each year. Senate Finance Chairman Walt Helmick, D-Pocahontas, said last month he believes that the tax should be eliminated, having learned that surrounding states do not have this tax.

District judges will be required to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or four years experience as a judge, to be eligible for this position in accordance with the terms of HB 2840, which was introduced by Delegate Jim Morgan, D-Cabell, and three other members of the House of Delegates.

Morgan said the 107,158 current district judges in West Virginia, and the Supreme Court of Appeal to support the bill.

House of Delegates passed two bills to deal with internal problems of relations. One (HB2694) would prohibit any changes to the custody of children when one parent in the Armed Forces of the United States. Other (HB2738) will change the way the court protective orders in cases of domestic violence are distributed in a way that these orders are easily accessible to all law enforcement agencies of the state. And now to be considered in the Senate.

The Senate finally passed the first bill last week, including SB239, which will reduce from 55 percent majority to a simple majority, one vote more than 50 percent must be approved by agreement between the Government of the metro district and town in the district.

The bill applies only to counties with a population over 150,000, which limits its impact on the Kanawha County only.

The bill, which attracted the most attention in the Legislature last week, although the sponsor is the first to admit it will never make it out of committee, was HB2918, sponsored by Delegate Jeff Eldridge, D-Lincoln. He wants to ban sale of Barbie dolls and “other similar dolls that promote or influence girls to place too much importance of physical beauty to the detriment of their intellectual and emotional development.”

Father of 13-year-old son, Eldridge said that he “hates the myth that if you’re beautiful you do not have to be smart.”

At least one tax increase approved by lawmakers during the three days of the legislative interim committee to the governor’s speech outlining its program for 2009-2010 budget.

Joint Subcommittee of Finance dealing with problems associated with the state about 400 volunteer fire departments recommended that the bill would increase the state tax on premiums of 0.55 cents per $ 100 premium of 0.75 cents. Expected annual income of a new $ 5 million will be used to help provide up to $ 12,000 to volunteer fire departments of individual years of service retirement plan for volunteers when they retire.

Senate Majority Leader Truman Chafin, D-Mingo, said the volunteer fire departments are having trouble attracting new members and “is that we can be proud.” Sen. Ed Bowman, D-Hancock, and threw only special voting rights in Subcommittee on the grounds that it is not a good time for any tax increases.

The next day, Senate Finance Chairman Walt Helmick, D-Pocahontas, called for tax cuts, saying that it was time, the state severance tax on timber ends, after hearing the state Forester Randy paint to say that it puts the timber industry of the state at a disadvantage, because other States do not impose a severance tax. Dye said logging companies in West Virginia severance tax to pay four per cent, which is calculated from the value of the tree when it is cut.

“According to our laws, broke the wood product at the moment it hits the ground,” said the paint members of the commission to review forest management.

Members of the Republican minority in the House of Delegates also outlined his goals of tax reform at a press conference before the start of the session last week.


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