Jack Walker Published

Justice Eyeing Tax Cuts Even If Revenue Falls Short Of Trigger

Three men hold a signed piece of legislation as balloons fall in celebration.
In 2023, Gov. Jim Justice celebratef the signing of a tax cut bill with Senate President Craig Blair (left) and House Speaker Roger Hanshaw (right).
Will Price/WV Legislative Photography

Last year, West Virginians received the largest personal income tax cut in state history, with Gov. Jim Justice signing a law slashing income tax by 21.25 percent.

But beyond the immediate tax cut, the law also provided the possibility of triggering additional tax cuts once the state revenue surpasses its total from 2019, indicating economic growth for the state.

Throughout his tenure as governor, Justice has called for even more significant income tax cuts, suggesting that dollars not collected by the state would be pumped back into the economy by consumers across West Virginia.

During a virtual press briefing Tuesday, Justice reaffirmed that he sees value in cutting income taxes further, and would be open to such changes even if the threshold for the 2023 trigger law is not met.

“We reduced the income tax by $750 million. It’s in the hands of all West Virginians. They spend the money,” he said. “They spend it here, and the multiplier effects just go and go and go and go.”

Some lawmakers have expressed concern that reduced income taxes could mean less funding for state resources. But Justice suggested Tuesday that cutting income taxes would only help attract more residents or businesses to West Virginia, and bolster economic consumption within the state.

“There is nothing that would drive more goodness to West Virginia than to get rid of our state income tax,” Justice said.

Lawmakers could pass additional cuts during next year’s regular legislative session, beginning in January 2024.

But changes could come even sooner if the governor calls a special legislative session — or if three-fifths of both chambers of the West Virginia Legislature agree to enter a special session to discuss the cuts, per state code.