- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia lawmakers have finished a second day of special budget session without approving a spending plan.

On Tuesday, a Senate budget panel approved a 45-cent increase to the cigarette tax and higher taxes on e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. The package would raise $78 million.

The bill has headed to the Senate floor. It would then need approval in the House, where tax hikes face stiffer opposition.

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin called the Republican-led Legislature into session Monday.

Tomblin has also proposed tax increases on cellphone and landline use and sales up to an extra 1 percent.

He has requested authority to furlough state employees in fiscal emergencies.

The next fiscal year starts July 1. A $270 million budget gap remains.

Each day of session costs about $35,000.

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