W.Va. Gov. calls special session for tax cut

W.Va. Gov. calls special session for tax cut
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 7:15 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Workers in West Virginia could soon see more money in their paycheck; that’s if the West Virginia Legislature approves an income tax cut proposal by Gov. Jim Justice.

The governor’s proposal takes up just two pages and, if passed, would give most every taxpayer a 10% cut in their state income tax, with even more relief for those earning less than $60,000.

It also stands to represent the first reduction in the state’s income tax rate since 1987 -- 35 years ago.

Secretary Dave Hardy, of the state’s Department of Revenue, told WSAZ annual savings for the governor’s proposal would be similar to House Bill 4007, a failed attempt by the House of Delegates to pass a similar, 10% income tax cut. It was estimated that plan would have led to an annual savings of $200 to $300 for the average household.

”The average household would be roughly in the same number that you just said there a minute ago,” he told WSAZ NewsChannel 3. “But of course, it just depends upon your income. If you’re a higher income earner, this is substantially more than that, but at the bottom of the scale, you’re getting a one-third tax cut, which is substantial by anybody’s measure.”

The change would be retroactive to January 2022.

Hardy said employers would receive new withholding tables very soon after the bill passes. That means less money taken out of paychecks and, potentially, a bigger refund when taxpayers file their state taxes early next year.

Nothing is guaranteed.

Senate leadership has recently favored property tax cuts over other options, believing that eliminating the annual tax on motor vehicles and business inventory would lead to a much greater economic impact.

But the governor’s proposal is thought to have very strong support in the state House, where delegates overwhelmingly advanced a House Bill 4007 in February before it died in the state Senate.

House Finance Chairman Eric Householder, R-Berkeley, told WSAZ the governor’s proposal is guaranteed money for West Virginia taxpayers, whereas any change to the personal property tax would depends upon what voters decide with a constitutional amendment in November.

Democrats also signaled they may be on board.

House Minority Leader Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha, said high inflation has changed everything. He said he believes every lawmaker should keep an open mind and seriously look at supporting anything that provides quick relief at this time.

The special session will convene at noon Monday at the State Capitol. It will coincide with the Legislature’s previously scheduled interim meetings, which limits the cost of the special session to taxpayers.

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