GREENBRIER COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – In a drastic attempt to reverse the mountain state’s population decline, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has proposed removing the state’s income tax.
He hopes this will encourage population and employment growth and higher wages for Western Virgins, but as the saying goes, all good things come with a price.
The governor’s income tax waiver plan estimates that more than a billion dollars would remain in the pockets of the West Virgins. To offset these lost revenue, his proposal included a two percent increase in sales tax and tax increases on some personal services, soft drinks, tobacco, beer, and wine.
Local breweries say the governor’s plan will kill their businesses.
The Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company has been making craft beers that honor West Virginia for six years.
“Every beer we bring out essentially tells a story about West Virginia,” said Alexander Durand, GVBC’s director of sales and marketing.
Tales of legends, cryptids and folklore of the mountain state. That’s GVBC’s specialty, putting them on the map.
“I think the biggest impact on that is people who come from outside the state. So we’re losing the ability to give someone an inheritance or a story,” Durand said.
Breweries in the state believe Governor Justice’s alcohol tax hike is counterproductive. West Virginia’s craft beer industry ranks 46th in the nation for the amount of beer it produces. They already pay a tax of $ 5 a barrel, but the governor’s plan would increase the tax to $ 29.25 a barrel.
“This increase places us in the top five taxes per gallon of any state for craft beverages.”
Governor Justice believes that with extra money in their pockets, the West Virgins will spend that money on local shopping.
“If you miss this and are misinformed and believe this will hurt you, you are making the worst mistake ever,” said Governor Justice.
The state’s 28 breweries have one thing in common.
“I think we’re going to lose all of the work we’ve done as a brewing community. Because right now it’s community, not competition – we work together, ”said Durand.
GVBC says if they produce the same amount of craft beer under this plan compared to 2019, they will jump from $ 20,000 in taxes to $ 117,000.
They say tourists don’t want to pay these prices and are looking for something cheaper in neighboring states.
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