W.Va. House Approves Justice Government’s Personal Income Tax Cut
Bill’s future in state senate uncertain
By STEVEN ALLEN ADAMS
For the Smart
CHARLESTON — Governor Jim Justice’s bill to cut West Virginia’s personal income tax rates by 10% across all income brackets has received approval from the House of Delegates, sending the bill bill in the state senate where his future is less certain.
picture by: Photo courtesy of WV Legislative Photography
The House passed Bill 301, reducing personal income taxes, in a 78-7 vote with 15 members absent Thursday afternoon after rejecting six amendments proposed by the Democratic minority. Despite this, 11 members of the Democratic minority voted with the majority.
Even in the absence of Republicans voting no, some Republicans attempted to postpone action on the bill for a day and send the bill to a second committee. Of the. Daniel Linville, R-Cabell, said delaying action on the bill until today would allow more time to negotiate a deal with Republicans in the state Senate. It would also give the Legislative Assembly Tax and Regulatory Affairs Division time to do some math.
“All I ask of each of my colleagues is to give us one more day and let the Office of Legislative Tax Affairs continue to work,” Linville said.
Of the. Jason Barrett, R-Berkeley, reminded the House that it passed a bill similar to HB 301 in the 2022 legislative session earlier this year. House Bill 4007 also included a 10% personal income tax cut, but the Senate refused to accept it.
“I support tax cuts, but I think it’s also very clear…we’ve been down this road before,” Barrett said. “We passed a bill very similar to this one and it was not taken up by the Senate. We are still in negotiations with the Senate to pass a bill that will provide tax reductions, tax relief to your constituents.
House Finance Committee Deputy Chairman Vernon Criss, R-Wood, said there was no need to wait another day to pass the bill. The special session began on Monday when lawmakers were already in town for three-day interim meetings that ended on Tuesday. Each additional day the Legislative Assembly remains in special session last Tuesday costs about $35,000 a day.
“I think it’s time to allow this legislative process to continue to work, so let’s make these amendments, vote for them or against them, and then send a bill to the Senate,” Criss said. “We are here to do the job we were brought to town to do so we can go home.”
Earlier this week, State Senate Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, said there was no support for the current version of HB 301 among Senate Republicans. Instead, Senate Republicans prefer to focus on getting voters to approve a constitutional amendment in the November ballot that would give lawmakers the power to reduce or eliminate certain corporeal property taxes.
A plan was released this week showing how Senate Republicans will fund counties – which rely on property tax revenue – directly from tax revenue from the general revenue fund and use a formula to provide an additional minimum of $1 million. dollars to the counties. Other parts of the Senate Republican plan include additional funds for public servant retirees and reductions in personal income tax rates if sales and use of consumer income increase in a fiscal year.
Another legislator – Del. Shannon Kimes, R-Wood — introduced a motion to send HB 301 to the House Government Organizing Committee, accusing some House members of negotiating with the Senate in bad faith and claimed HB 301 raised taxes, which it does not. .
“The thing is, I think we need a different team to get into these negotiations and try to get a deal done,” Kimes said. “The team we sent into the debate can only bring us alternatives that include tax increases when the Senate is fully prepared to pass tax cuts without tax increases.”
“There was absolutely no discussion because the legislative procedure does not allow us to sit down and negotiate with the Senate on a bill,” Criss replied. “We don’t do that. We adopt our own bills.
HB 301 would reduce personal income tax rates in all six income brackets retroactive to Jan. 1, resulting in more money on paychecks and bigger tax refunds at the end of the year. tax year in December.
Rate reductions range from a 1% reduction for those earning $10,000 or less per year, reducing the tax rate from 3% to 2%; a half percent reduction for those earning between $40,000 and $60,000 per year and those earning more than $60,000 per year.
Those earning between $25,000 and $40,000 would see rates rise from 4.5% to 4.2%. Those earning between $10,000 and $25,000 would see rates rise from 4% to 3.7%. If lawmakers approve it, it will be the first change to personal income tax rates since 1987.
Four amendments proposed by the Democratic minority were defeated, including an amendment to offer only a 5% personal income tax cut for fiscal year 2021 and an amendment that would offer all taxpayers a $250 personal income tax rebate for fiscal year 2020.
“The problem with the bill that we have that the governor has presented to us is that it is so unfair,” said Assemblyman Larry Rowe, D-Kanawha. “This (amendment) puts the money where it’s needed most, and that’s with our regular West Virginians.”
In a statement released Thursday afternoon, the judge thanked the House for passing HB 301 and encouraged the Senate to support it as well. He accused the Senate of promoting a repeal of the tangible personal property tax that would benefit big business over the people of West Virginia.
“It’s a great deal for everyone in West Virginia,” Justice said. “This tax cut will provide immediate relief to families paying the price of runaway inflation across the country while preparing us to bring generations of prosperity to West Virginia.
“Ultimately what the Senate is proposing is ‘Build the field and wish and hope they come.’ It’s not wise,” Justice continued. “The personal income tax cut has been proven time and time again in many other states to be an economic and demographic driver beyond belief.”