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WV Lawmakers in Final Day Fury

West Virginia
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An effort to eliminate the Social Security tax on senior citizens nearly collapsed in the House. Instead of total elimination, it will be phased out at certain income levels, but not all.

“AARP has been in complete consultation on this. They support this. This first year is 35-percent, the second year is at 65 percent, and the third year it’s fully phased in,” said Del. Eric Householder, Chairman, (R) Berkeley – Finance Committee.

Democrats say they and seniors are being doubled-crossed.

“I campaigned on it, I know many people campaigned on it. Eliminating the tax on Social Security, not phasing it out and then capping it, so only people get it and everybody doesn’t . It should not be double taxation on everybody,” said Del. Isaac Sponaugle, (D) Pendleton.

Coal miners were at the Capitol in force, hoping the coal severance tax would be cut from 5 to 3 percent, over the next three years.

“Oh I think this is one of the most important measures, that can help the coal industry recover from its depressed state currently, particularly in the steam or thermal coal markets,” said Chris Hamilton, West Virginia Coal Association.

And while both chambers have passed a balanced budget, promised five-percent pay raises for all education employees will have to wait for a special session.

“It appears to me, it’s mean spirited not to fulfill those promises,” said State Sen. Mike Woelfel, (D) Cabell.

Also up for discussion, making sure road projects like I-70 get back on track.

“I need to make sure for everybody in the Northern Panhandle, who suported the bond projects, that we get that done,” said State Sen. Ryan Weld, (R) Brooke – Majority Whip.

Lawmakers are also trying to pass two bills regarding medical marijuana.

“The biggest enemy of lawmakers is the clock. There are dozens of bills they’re trying to get through the hopper, but they must be done by midnight, not a second later,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

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