CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The 2019 West Virginia Legislative session is now underway.
The House again chose Roger Hanshaw as Speaker, and the Senate, Mitch Carmichael as President.
One of the biggest issues right out of the box will be getting rid of state income tax on seniors and their Social Security benefits. West Virginia is among only three states that still taxes social security.
“There is broad bipartisan support on both sides of the building to get that thing done. And there’s money this year in the budget to take care of it. This is something we’ve wanted to take off for a long time,” said Del.Mick Bates, (D) Raleigh.
“Oh, that’s very important. I do believe that that will be a help to the seniors, and I’, very supportive of that issue,” said Del. Terri Sypolt, (R) Preston.
Also getting fast support, giving another 5% pay raise to teachers, school staff, and all state employees.
“I am very supportive of that as well as fully-funding PEIA. You know that that was one of the promises made last year during the teacher walkout,” said Del. Lisa Zuckoff, (D) Marshall.
Another education proposal is to provide free community and technical college education to any West Virginia resident.
“You know I need to see the exact proposal, but I am supportive of helping our folks being able to afford community college, as well as all higher education,” said Del. Jason Barrett, (D) Berkeley.
And with a projected budget surplus of $185,000,000 and growing, many want more economic development.
“And our economy is where we have to improve. And we’ve been seeing that. So the changes we’ve made in the past few years – this Legisature before I came up here – in the last couple of years, has really made an economic turnaround. We need to infrastructre to suport that. We need to workforce to support that,” said State Sen. Eric Tarr, (R) Putnam.
By Constitution, the West Virginia Legislative Session now underway, must produce a balanced budget.
As always what a government can do, depends a lot on how much money it has. We’ll get specifics on the Governor’s budget proposal in his State of the State address Wednesday night at the Capitol.