WV Senate passes its own version of the plan to repeal the state income tax

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 8:52 PM EDT
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - Far after the sun has set, West Virginia state senators continue debating the line items contained in House Bill 3300, the plan to repeal the state income tax. Senators pushed the bill to the bottom of the agenda, only beginning debates after the Senate returned from recess just before 6 p.m. In that time, Senator Eric Tarr of Putnam County introduced yet another amendment, changing some aspects of the bill including raising the sales tax to 8% instead of the originally proposed 8.5%. That amendment was adopted just about an hour before House Bill 3300 cleared the Senate in an 18-16 roll call vote.

The bill will be sent back to the House for concurrence.

Given the extensive debate that happened in the bill’s time in the Senate chambers, the threat of the end of the legislative session on Saturday loomed darkly. Just before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Governor Jim Justice extended the legislative session one additional day to address the Budget Bill.

The bill passed by the Senate has gone through over a dozen amendments over the past week as the policymakers in Charleston continued to push for the legislation to pass.

“To come up with a plan in less than two days is not the correct way. What we need to do is sit down at the table and come up with a comprehensive plan,” said Monongalia County Commissioner Tom Bloom. “Take the year, come up with a good proposal and then propose it. That is what I am hoping would happen.”

Bloom says the County Commission Association of West Virginia stands against the plan to repeal the state income tax because of the lack of communication between Charleston and the county governments.

“There is this attitude right now that the cities and counties can not function without the state telling us what to do,” Bloom said.

He says he does not believe Governor Justice’s claims that repealing the state income tax would bring more people into the state. Instead, he said the higher sales tax would be a deterrent for larger businesses seeking expansion in the Mountain State. He touted the recent opening of the Menard’s and the construction of outdoor supply giant Bass Pro Shop as two recent examples of success that the county had without the need for changing the tax code.

But others are on the fence about the plan.

“It is annoying when you do not owe any federal tax, many, many times you will still owe state tax. The state tax often comes out to be as much as the federal tax,” said John Kuehn.

Kuehn is a co-owner of Spencer and Kuehn Fine Jewelry Studio in Morgantown.

“[The state income tax] is a high tax and I agree with the Governor likes the idea of eliminating that to attract more people in. But on the other hand he is raising all this other stuff which is maybe just as painful.” Kuehn said.

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