The income tax cut goes through the West Virginia House and on its way to the Senate


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The West Virginia House of Delegates on Thursday passed the Republican governor’s plan to cut state income tax by 10%, sparking a clash in the Senate, including the president is cold to the idea.

The GOP-controlled House backed the bill on a 78-7 vote with 15 delegates absent. The vote passed without debate after the rejection of several amendments proposed by Democrats, including one that would have given taxpayers a $250 rebate in lieu of the tax cut.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where President Craig Blair favors reductions in taxes on personal property, businesses and state inventory. A constitutional amendment before voters in November would allow lawmakers to adjust those taxes. Blair said an income tax cut alone would not help the state’s economy or attract businesses and new residents.

The income tax cut was part of Governor Jim Justice’s special session announcement last week. The state of West Virginia ended the last fiscal year with a record surplus of $1.3 billion. A 10% reduction is the maximum allowable reduction while remaining within the funding stipulations of the American Rescue Plan Act, Justice said.

He said West Virginians at all income levels would see their taxes lower under his plan, which would be retroactive to Jan. 1 and put $254 million back in residents’ pockets when they file their 2022 taxes. .

The governor’s speech is the third attempt to cut personal income taxes in the past year.

The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy said the latest proposal would be ineffective in helping families and workers because it would largely benefit the wealthy.

More effective ways to use excess revenue, the nonprofit organization said, include investing in the state’s public employees insurance program, providing subsidized care for 10,000 children benefits, implementing a paid family and medical leave program for all workers, investing in workforce development, and providing all families with a one-time $250 tax credit for each child.

As lawmakers began meeting in a special session on Monday, the judiciary abruptly added an abortion bill to the agenda. The session began a week after a Charleston judge barred West Virginia from enforcing an abortion ban dating back to the 1800s, deeming it unenforceable and replaced by a slew of conflicting modern laws. Justice then called on lawmakers to “clarify and modernize” state abortion laws.

The abortion bill, which passed the House on Wednesday, would make the procedure a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and includes exceptions for victims of rape and incest as well as medical emergencies. This bill is before the Senate for third reading on Friday.

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