One state lawmaker says substance abuse doesn’t recognize neutrality.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin recently received recommendations from his substance abuse task force. Those included proposed tax increases to help pay for drug treatment but Tomblin says he has no plans to raise taxes.
Perdue favors “sin” tax increases because he says the need is so great.
The Wayne County delegate says numbers show there are 40,000 addicts in West Virginia that go untreated and those who do; there are only 300 long-term beds to accommodate them.
“You can see the facilities we need to utilize to combat these problems are very minimal,” Perdue said. “We have got to address the problem. We can’t continue to assume that just by saying ‘no new taxes’ we are doing the right thing.”
Perdue proposes a one-cent increase in the tax on beer. He says it hasn’t been touched since 1965. Perdue would like to see the cigarette tax go up 50-cents or a $1. The current tax is 50-cents. Perdue says raising it $1 would raise more than $125 million in additional state revenue.
Perdue says he also believes there is money in the existing state budget that can be freed up and forwarded toward the substance abuse issue.
The regular session of the legislature begins Feb. 13.