BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – Governor Jim Justice plans to eliminate West Virginia income tax. He held a town hall on Monday, February 22, 2021 to answer questions and concerns about the plan.
To open City Hall, Governor Justice praised his staff and how well they continue to work during the pandemic. Governor Justice said West Virginia had become a shining example of Covid-19 testing and vaccine distribution because of her hard work. He said the state must now use the national attention it continues to gain during the pandemic.
“There will be a time when West Virginia will slide back if we do nothing and do something with the opportunity right in our laps,” said Governor Justice.
Governor Justice said the best way to do this is to focus on the state’s economy. He proposed the abolition of income tax.
But how will the state make up for the lost revenue? The governor said part of the answer is to increase consumer sales tax by 1.5 percent, levy taxes on tobacco and soda purchases, and levy a luxury tax.
During the town hall he was asked what this could cost the state in the long term.
“Well, it won’t cost us anything but a tremendous amount of people who come and bring this state jobs and goodness, goodness,” said Governor Justice.
When it comes to opportunity, Governor Justice believes the abolition of income taxes will lead to increases in job opportunities, wages and property values.
He was also asked why he was so confident this could work. The answer came from Treasury Secretary Dave Hardy, who explained how much they focused on the states that are already operating without state income tax.
“We also took a close look at Tennessee because Tennessee is, of course, like West Virginia in many ways. It has a lot in common and geographically it’s pretty tight so we felt this was a place we could compete with, ”Hardy explained.
At the end of the Town Hall, after all the questions, comments, and concerns, Governor Justice left everyone listened with a message he wanted to get across.
“And I want everyone to hear me loud and clear. If we don’t, we’ll regret it forever,” Justice said.
View the entire town hall here: