Ashton Marra Published

Legislature Extends Tax Reform Work Through Tuesday


Members of a legislative conference committee will continue their work Monday, trying to come to an agreement over tax reform.
The conference committee was assembled Wednesday and, according to Legislative rules, must finish their work by Saturday, but lawmakers voted to suspend those rules Friday, allowing the committee to meet over the weekend. 

They won’t do that though, pushing off their negotiations to Monday in hopes of finding a final agreement by Tuesday. 
The committee’s work is focused on a tax reform measure that’s at the center of Gov. Jim Justice’s proposed 2018 budget.
An idea that originally came from Senate Republicans, at its core is a push to increase the consumer sales tax as a tradeoff for a reduced personal income tax.
It’s the economic benchmarks that the state would have to meet to trigger that repeal that Senate President Mitch Carmichael said Friday are causing conflict between committee members. 
“That’s really where the issue centers,” he said. “It’s about the triggers, making sure that we protect, be fiscally responsible, make sure we don’t repeat the Kansas model and make sure we have growth in our economy before we trigger these reductions.”
Democratic members of both the House and Senate argued Friday afternoon that it’s not the economic triggers that are holding up a deal on the plan, but the fact that the bill includes a reduction of the personal income tax at all. 
The details of the bill will determine how much money lawmakers have to spend in next year’s budget. That budget bill must be approved by June 30 to avoid a government shutdown.