Ashton Marra Published

Governor Urges Caution in Final Tax Reform Plan


Gov. Jim Justice took questions from a legislative conference committee Thursday that is working on a compromised version of his tax reform plan, a rare appearance at the statehouse.

The Democratic governor and Republican Senators have been pushing the tax reform initiative as a way to balance the budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

Although the details of the bill have varied widely over the past couple weeks, at the center of the plan is a push to increase the consumer sales tax as a tradeoff for a reduced personal income tax and changes to the coal severance tax.

Thursday morning, Justice appeared before the conference committee working through the final details of that plan and was pushed for an opinion on one area in particular- the economic triggers.

Lawmakers pushed the governor for specific ideas on the circumstances they should define in code that would allow for future income tax rate reductions.

Justice said whether lawmakers want to create triggers that are based on revenue or on job growth, he feels it’s the Legislature’s decision to make, but he did offer some advice.

“Be safe,” he said. “Don’t be unrealistic that they can’t trigger, because we want them to trigger, but be protective of our state and be safe.”

Members of the conference committee will continue their work on the compromised bill Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.