CHARLESTON – Governor Jim Justice pledged to continue fighting for a compromise plan on personal income tax between him and the West Virginia Senate while the House of Delegates decided to come forward with the plan.
The House unanimously voted against a motion to approve Senate amendments to House Bill 3300, the Income Tax Compromise Bill prepared by Senate Governor and Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Eric Tarr, R-Putnam.
The vote came after the judiciary held a briefing Friday accusing the House of not pursuing the bill. The leadership said it was still keen to work on an income tax exit, but Friday’s vote should send a clear message.
“We have no less interest in continuing to work on this issue than before,” said House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, during a pause after the vote on HB 3300. The governor has asked, or perhaps suggested, that we are afraid to hold a vote. That’s why we were happy to do it, and we did it. “
The judiciary criticized the house during a virtual briefing at noon before the vote.
“They won’t even vote on it,” Justice said. “They are not going to vote on it because they are afraid to vote on it … they are not even going to vote on the most important thing this state has ever faced.”
The Senate narrowly passed HB 3300 in an 18-16 vote on Wednesday evening, although the House did not take up the message of the Senate passing the bill until Friday – one day before the end of the 2021 legislative term at midnight tonight.
HB 3300, based on Governor’s Justice 4 All plan unveiled during a legislative summit and an amendment proposed by Tarr, would phasing out income tax by 50% from January 1, 2022, with future cuts . The cut would be paid with a consumer sales of 8% and a use tax as well as the lifting of several sales tax exemptions.
The plan provides a tax break for individuals and families who earn less than $ 35,000 per year to help mitigate the impact of higher sales tax. The proceeds from a new tiered severance tax, tobacco tax increases, and proceeds from a new lottery scratch card would go to a special fund to expedite the expiry of the income tax.
The original version of HB 3300, which was approved by the House, envisioned an income tax exit of $ 150 million a year until the tax is gone. It is estimated that the house will exit in more than a decade. This also includes a fund that uses parts of existing tax flows to accelerate the expiry of income tax.
“This body has passed a bipartisan tax reform plan,” said Householder in the vote on Friday. “We showed them the easy way out. West Virgins want real tax breaks and not new taxes. So why should we want to punish our small businesses for being the lifeblood of our economy? Why should we want to burden our citizens anew? “