It's no secret that WV's budget is a hot mess. The majority-Republican legislature didn't pass one at the end of the session and there's still no deal.
Hardliners oppose any new taxes, even extremely reasonable ones like a $1.00 increase in the cigarette tax, which would both raise needed revenue and have a positive public health impact. Instead, they are talking about slashing budgets, laying off public employees, and even privatizing public colleges and universities and the Public Employees Insurance Agency.
There are some voices of reason, including this Gazette editorial, this op-ed, and this bit of myth busting about the budget. A number of groups came together Thursday at a press conference calling for higher tobacco taxes.
It's not clear if the ideologues in the legislative majority are listening. One of the speakers at the press conference said that raising this kind of revenue was a "no-brainer." I'm not sure what this says about WV, but in my experience the no-brainers are the toughest fights of all.