W.Va. Senate passes amended version of income tax bill by 18-16 vote
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - An amended bill aimed to repeal and replace West Virginia’s personal income tax was passed Wednesday evening by the West Virginia Senate and is now on its way back to the House.
The Senate’s income tax bill was a rewrite of the original bill (House Bill 3300) that was passed in the House. This bill is intended to eliminate the state personal income tax and replace the revenue with a number of sales tax increases.
The latest amendment rewrites the entire bill. It removes the food tax, lowers the sales tax increase and introduces a tax refund system for the state’s lowest earners. It also switches out a tax on recreational marijuana for tax increases on coal and gas.
Senators had been considering a number of amendments to the Senate proposal that came out of Monday’s summit with Gov. Jim Justice. They included several amendments including new tax increases to cover the budget gap that would be created by eliminating the state’s income tax.
Tuesday, the third reading of the bill was delayed following the introduction of a fourth plan by Gov. Jim Justice during a summit designed to bring Democratic and Republican leaders from the House and Senate together.
Gov. Jim Justice introduced a fourth plan on Monday in his quest to eliminate the state personal income tax.
Under the amended Senate bill, income tax would be cut in half in the next year and to nothing in four years. There is a 2% increase in sales and use tax. Among other changes would be elimination of fees on hotel tax. Lawmakers say measures would be in place to ensure there’s no budget deficit.
In an exchange on the floor Wednesday night Sen. Mike Woelfel, D- Cabell, questioned the writer of the amendment Eric Tarr, R- Putnam, about a portion of the amendment regarding the taxation of advertising.
He asked why the proposal doesn’t tax digital advertisers like Google and Facebook, but would tax local advertisers like television and radio stations and newspapers.
Tarr said that an amendment of that nature was not presented.
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