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May 17 2021 12:00 am

Debate to repeal personal income tax in West Virginia continues

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice held virtual a town hall Monday afternoon to discuss his proposal to repeal the state’s personal income tax.

The Governor says it’s what is best for the state, but critics say they don’t know how West Virginia will make up half of the state’s budget.

“Well I’ve outlined it a bunch of times and everything. We need our natural resources partners to help out just a little bit, we need to go up probably just a percent and a half to maybe 1.9 percent in regard to our sales tax,” said Governor Justice, when asked if other taxes will go up.

But critics are saying, this idea won’t work. “West Virginians would actually see their taxes go up if you add in a sales tax, or if you add in a raise in certain professional services, most West Virginians aren’t going to see a tax break but a tax hike,” said Delegate Mike Pushkin (D) – Kanawha.

And it caused some controversy on social media. One person said, “Who would have a problem with less taxes?” Another person posted, “This disproportionately favors the wealthy and harms the working class and poor. It failed miserably in Kansas and it will be a catastrophe here.”

West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy Senior Policy Analyst, Sean O’leary, is also raising concerns. He says, “For most people, you would be asking them to pay more in taxes, and get less services in return. And that just doesn’t seem like the direction that West Virginia should be moving towards.”

The Governor says repealing the personal income tax will attract new residents to the Mountain State and make up for the lost revenue. “And the bottom line is drawing the people here. Ya know, that’s the secret. That’s the secret to the whole thing.”

O’leary adds that there is still a lot of missing details in the proposal, but the Center on Budget and Policy will be there to guide you. “Once we have a bill, we will be able to put out an analysis of you know, breaking down ya know, if this is your income this is exactly what you can expect.”

When the question was taken to Twitter, it’s a tight vote:

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