A proposed 25-cent cigarette tax hike passed by House lawmakers and eventually struck down by the Senate would have generated about $115 million in revenue, said state Rep. Harry Moberly, D-Richmond.
“That allowed us to give quite a bit more money to elementary and secondary education and human services and also more to higher education,” he said about what the cigarette tax revenue would have helped fund.“
We gave teachers a 4 percent raise over the biennium instead of the 2 percent that they’re getting now,” Moberly said. “And, we were able to give schools additional money in their base SEEK allocation. We gave them $12 million more in the first year and $30 million more in the second.
Higher education got back to where there wasn’t any cut at all. Without the cigarette tax, that has to be a 3 percent cut.”
The two-year, nearly $19 billion state budget was approved last Wednesday without a tax increase by a 74-21 vote with all dissenting votes coming from Democrats, including Moberly, who voted against a state spending plan for the first time in his lengthy legislative career.
“I didn’t think that we bargained hard enough at the end with the Senate to get more money for education and human services,” he said. “I thought that, on the House side, if our leadership had done a better job negotiating we would have been able to get more in those crucial areas.“
I felt that they gave into (Senate) President (David) Williams without the proper intensity of negotiations,” Moberly said. “That’s the reason I voted against the budget. The budget is not good for teachers, kids and education in general. I thought we could have done better.” ...
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
This from the Richmond Register: