MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – To the surprise of D-Monongalia County Delegate John Williams, the governor reintroduced a personal income tax cut plan after the House of Delegates rejected a similar plan in the 2021 legislative session On WAJR’s “Talk of the Town,” he said he was ready to listen, but admits his skepticism.
“I understand the current plan is going to be similar to this plan in some ways,” Williams said. “So I don’t know how much appetite there is for it, I think there are still discussions going on, but we’ll wait and see.”
Williams has proposed a plan that would use some of the surplus to avert a looming Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) shortfall and direct aid to those who are hurting the most. Williams thinks the current proposal would favor taxpayers in the highest tax brackets the most.
“A similar state government revenue cut that would give every child in the state of West Virginia a tax credit to pay for daycare,” Williams said. “There are proposals that would target middle-class and low-income people more – the people who are suffering the most.”
World events pushed energy costs to record highs, which also pushed coal severance tax revenues to make a substantial contribution to the FY22 surplus. Coal severance packages will fluctuate based on markets as well as ongoing efforts to control energy costs.
“Severance collection is a downward trend and in any downward trend there are usually small upward trends,” Williams said. “But, the story is always top down.”
Williams said companies planning to create jobs in West Virginia rarely complain about high taxes. It’s more about labour, infrastructure and access to markets.
“So if the issue is bringing in companies to create jobs, why not pay for this workforce development to try to build a workforce for the 21st century.”
As a super minority Democrat, Williams is optimistic about her ability to work with Republicans to help relieve the state. But, he wants to make sure any plan is a stable benefit that will encourage more economic growth and expansion.
“I reserve the right as someone elected to represent workers in West Virginia to try to work this thing out before it’s a vote to do my best,” Williams said.