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Guests discuss Senate tax plan on latest West Virginia Legislature This Week

The latest episode of WV News’ webcast program West Virginia Legislature This Week was recorded Wednesday just after Republicans in the state Senate unveiled their long-awaited tax reform proposal. According to the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the permitting process is to blame for much of it.

Guests — who included Sen. Patrick Martin, R-Lewis, West Virginia Manufacturers Association President Rebecca McPhail and West Virginia Chamber President Steve Roberts — reacted to details of the plan and discussed its possible impacts.

The webcast will be featured across WV News’ online platforms and social media profiles. The program is made in collaboration with The State Journal and West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

While Gov. Jim Justice had previously proposed a personal income tax reduction plan that would have seen the state’s PIT rate halved over three years, the Senates plan includes a 15% reduction.

The Senate plan also includes: the elimination of the “marriage penalty” when filing taxes; a rebate for the payment of taxes on vehicles; a homestead real property tax rebate for service-disabled military veterans; and a 50% rebate for the payment of equipment and inventory taxes paid by small businesses.

The plan was introduced into the Legislature Wednesday as a Senate Finance Committee substitute for Senate Bill 424 and advanced to the full Senate. Suspending the constitutional rules requiring bills to be read on three separate days, the Senate passed the bill 33-0 later in the afternoon, sending it to the House.

Martin, who was first elected to the Senate in 2020 after previously serving in the House of Delegates, said reducing the state’s personal income tax is the “No. 1 most important thing” to do if the state hopes to attract new businesses and investments.

“I believe that we have enough money to cut the income tax without raising any other tax,” he said. “Now, in the past years, I think the last three years, there’s been a vote in front of me to raise the sales tax in order to cut the income tax. And I voted against it every time.”

McPhail, who has led the WVMA since 2013, said her organization will be closely following the Senate’s plan as it continues to work its way through the legislative process.

“Tax reform has been a big topic and top of mind, not just for our industry, but for the whole state and our leadership here in the legislature. So we were pleased to see that maybe this is this is the beginning of some compromise,” she said. “And we look forward to seeing what comes out of it.”

Roberts, who’s organization supported the state’s proposed Amendment 2 last year, said he “might be the happiest person in the Capitol today” after hearing of the Senate’s plan.

“The Senate has come out with a plan that we think the governor’s office is likely to say looks good to them and we’re hopeful the House of Delegates will certainly take the time necessary to look at the plan and recognize the value because it does a lot of things,” he said.”It helps a lot of people and it does not raise any tax.”

The rebates included in the Senate plan could prove to be “a little complicated,” Roberts said.

“Given the failure of Amendment 2, it may be the only option that we have,” he said. “So one of the arguments that we made for Amendment 2 is, ‘Let’s not have the complicated way of doing it. Let’s have the simple way of doing it.’”

Story by Charles Young, Senior Staff Writer, WVNews


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