West Virginia Senate votes to fund ‘essential’ services

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia’s Senate has voted to fund “essential” personnel and services while protecting the benefits of other state workers facing furloughs if the new fiscal year starts July 1 with no budget adopted.

The Senate’s 29-2 vote on Tuesday follows House passage of a mostly similar furlough measure last month.

Meanwhile, talks continue at the Capitol aimed at closing the budget impasse among lawmakers and Gov. Jim Justice.

The latest House proposal would still leave the sales tax at 6 percent, not raising it to 6.35 percent as Justice proposes.

It would leave income tax rates unchanged, instead of cutting them as the Senate and Justice want.

The House would exempt military retirement pay and most Social Security benefits and raise the tax credit for people with incomes under $100,000.

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