Tax Reform

On The Legislature Today, during his State of the State Address, Gov. Jim Justice presented lawmakers with two plans.

The first was a way to balance the 2018 budget. The second, was a plan to raise more than $1 billion for road construction in the state through a road bond. Since, Justice has been traveling the state promoting that bond plan, but lawmakers have taken little action.

Secretary of the Department of Transportation Tom Smith discusses the proposal and whether Justice has given up on the push for new road funding.

On The Legislature Today, Republican leaders this week released their 2018 budget framework and progressed a bill to reform the state's tax system, while Gov. Jim Justice made changes to his budget bill that he says will result in a $54 million surplus next year. 

Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy Executive Director Garrett Ballengee and Senior Policy Analyst for the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy Sean O'Leary discuss the plans.

On The Legislature Today, days before Republican Legislative leaders previewed their plan to balance the 2018 budget, members of the House Liberty Caucus came up with a solution of their own.

Delegates Pat McGeehan and Michael Folk introduced their budget bill Thursday in the House of Delegates. It makes cuts to "government bureaucracy" in Charleston, smooths payments to the teacher's retirement system, and cuts Gov. Jim Justice's $105 million "SOS Fund" to not just find a balance, but include a 2 percent pay raise for teachers. 

The delegates discuss their plan and why it should be considered a "blueprint" for their fellow Republicans.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the Senate Select Committee on Tax Reform have approved their bill to restructure the state's tax code. 

The committee substitute for Senate Bill 335 was passed out of the committee Monday morning, the first step in its process to completion.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Editor's Note: This bill was revised by the Senate Select Committee on Tax Reform Monday, March 13. The revisions are explained in a new story on this website. 

Over the weekend, members of the Senate’s Select Committee on Tax Reform were presented with the latest version of a bill to overhaul West Virginia’s tax structure.

This is the third version of the legislation the 7 member committee has seen, but they’ve yet to take a vote on the measure. That vote, however, expected to come Monday.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The Senate’s Select Committee on Tax Reform has started discussing the latest version of its bill to repeal West Virginia's personal income tax and replace it with an expanded consumption tax. 

The income tax provides nearly $2 billion in annual revenue for the state, but supporters of the provision say a broader sales tax on goods and services at a higher rate could replace that revenue, encouraging economic growth in the state. 

The committee discussed the bill for a second time Monday morning, but still have not been presented with a fiscal note detailing the shift of revenues. 


On The Legislature Today, the governor releases an alternative plan to balance the 2018 budget-- one legislative leaders seem more open to considering.

 

In the Senate, a bill to clarify the state’s right to work law gets a passing vote and in the House, delegates hold a public hearing to address changed to the state's water quality standards.

The Senate's Select Committee on Tax Reform has yet to take up a bill that would phase out West Virginia's personal income tax and replace the revenues with an increased sales tax. That, however, hasn't stopped the bill from becoming one of the most talked about at the statehouse this session.

Sen. Robert Karnes, the chair of that select committee, shares his take on the bill.

On The Legislature Today, the Senate's Select Committee on Tax Reform begins discussing the chair's plan to reform the state's tax code, shifting from a personal income tax to a broader consumer sales tax.

Ted Boettner with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy and John Deskins with the Bureau for Business and Economic Research at West Virginia University discuss the potential benefits and risks to the plan and it impacts on West Virginians. 

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The Senate Select Committee on Tax Reform is charged with finding a way to shift the state’s reliance on personal income tax revenue to dollars raised through increased consumption taxes. That’s according to Senate President Mitch Carmichael, who created the committee in January.

At their first meeting Friday, Carmichael told members he believes that West Virginia’s economic growth is hindered by its reliance on income taxes. 

(WT-en) Haem85 at English Wikivoyage [CC BY-SA 1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0)],
Carson Maynard, 2006 / Wikimedia Commons

State delegates will host a town hall hearing this evening in Bluefield on tax reform.

Delegates Marty Gearheart, John Shott and Joe Ellington, all of Mercer County, will host the hearing to hear citizens’ ideas and comments on potential state tax reform proposals.

Perry Bennett / WV Legislative Photography

As part of a continuing effort exploring possible changes to the state tax code, members of the Joint Select

Committee on Tax Reform held a day-long public hearing at the capitol Tuesday. The hearing allowed West Virginia citizens to share their suggestions for ways to improve the state’s tax structure, and while at least a dozen citizens showed, few lawmakers filled the seats to listen. That, however, didn't stop members of the public from openly sharing what they think are the right steps for West Virginia.

Beth Vorhees / WV Public Radio

A legislative committee reviewing West Virginia's tax code will discuss taxation of minerals, alcohol, tobacco and other items during meetings this week.

The Joint Select Committee on Tax Reform is scheduled to meet on Monday and Tuesday at the Capitol.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A discussion on personal and business income taxes will dominate a state legislative committee meeting in Charleston.

The Joint Select Committee on Tax Reform is set to meet Monday at the state Capitol.

Department of Revenue deputy secretary Mark Muchow and state tax division general counsel Mark Morton are scheduled to give an overview of personal and business income taxes and later discuss tax credits.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The Joint Committee on Tax Reform held their final meeting before a July break Monday in Charleston, continuing their comprehensive review of the state’s tax code.

Panels of both county assessors and sheriffs discussed the state’s property tax system. A separate panel of attorneys and an accountant described the nuances of the state’s severance taxes for coal, natural gas and timber.

Still, three months into the process, lawmakers have discussed more problems with the tax code than solutions.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

In the fifth meeting of the Joint Committee on Tax Reform, lawmakers took on a number of issues, but one included hearing from city and county governments on what they need in a reformed state tax code.

“Revenue and flexibility to address aging infrastructure, pensions, housing and all that will attract and retain citizens,” Lisa Dooley, Executive Director of the West Virginia Municipal League, told the committee.

Dooley was joined by Huntington Mayor Steve Williams and Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie for the panel discussion on municipal taxation issues. All three shared the same message: cities need revenue, but more than that, they need the flexibility to find the revenue for themselves.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Ashton Marra reports from a meeting about taxes and tax reform at the state capitol yesterday.  And Glynis Board introduces us to a photographer who takes pictures of Appalachia’s prehistoric remnants.  These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.


Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Delegate Eric Nelson says there are three main goals for the Joint Committee on Tax Reform: to ensure West Virginia’s tax code is fair, simple and structured to promote economic growth. The House Finance Chair also serves as the co-chair of the special interim committee.

Members held their second meeting in Charleston Monday as they move forward with the first study of the state’s tax code in 9 years. The most recent study came in 2006 under Gov. Joe Manchin. Before that, the system hadn’t been reviewed since 1999 under Gov. Cecil Underwood.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A select group of West Virginia lawmakers began an arduous process Monday, combing through the state's current tax code and finding ways to bring it "into the 21st Century," as one delegate put it. 

The Joint Select Committee on Tax Reform was one of only four committees to meet during April interims, the first held under the new Republican leadership.