- Associated Press - Thursday, May 4, 2017

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The Latest on tax bills moving through the West Virginia Legislature (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

West Virginia’s House Republicans say they’re against pending legislation that would offset income tax cuts with increases in sales and business taxes. They want negotiations among House and Senate leaders and the governor.

House Speaker Tim Armstead stood with 40 members of his GOP Caucus Thursday as he cited concerns with raising the corporate income tax and raising sales tax on businesses operating in border counties.

Gov. Jim Justice later urged West Virginians in a tweet to ask House Republican leaders why they just rejected tax cuts for working people.

Justice has called the Legislature into special session to consider four bills to resolve a budget impasse.

The Senate has begun advancing the bills. Senate President Mitch Carmichael advocates for the income-tax cut.


5:30 p.m.

West Virginia’s Senate on Thursday began advancing bills backed by Gov. Jim Justice intended to resolve the state budget impasse.

The Democratic governor last month vetoed the $4.1 billion general revenue spending plan approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature, saying it cut too much state funding from higher education and from health care for poor West Virginians.

Negotiations continued this week with components still being worked on Thursday.

The Senate recessed Thursday afternoon after advancing for further consideration bills for highway reconstruction, including an increase in the gasoline tax, and to raise public school teachers’ pay. Lawmakers were still waiting for the final print of the bill that would cut state income taxes while raising the sales tax.

The Senate planned to reconvene Friday morning to consider it.

“We’re trying as diligently as we can to deliver this tax cut for the people of West Virginia and a balanced budget that lives within our means,” Senate President Mitch Carmichael said. The budget would barely increase spending. The tax bill will pass the Senate unless it contains surprises, he said.

Leaders of the House, scheduled to convene later Thursday, had criticized Justice for initially calling lawmakers into session Thursday morning before all the legislation was ready.

“The governor knew the votes were not there to pass his tax increases, and that calling this special session today was premature,” House Speaker Tim Armstead said earlier. “Now we’re here in Charleston wasting $35,000 a day and don’t even have the key bill we need to consider.”

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