WV State Senate fails to approve constitutional amendment to overhaul tax system

West Virginia

West Virginia Capitol Building. February 17, 2020.

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – An effort to change West Virginia’s tax system by doing away with the business inventory tax died today in the State Senate.

Yesterday a bill eliminating that tax and reducing other taxes was approved in the Senate, but late this afternoon a constitutional amendment necessary to implement that change failed to get the two-thirds vote it needed to put it before voters.

Democrats, voting against the amendment, said Republicans were cutting taxes for out of state corporations while raising taxes on West Virginians. Backers of the amendment say the tax system needs changes to help draw new business into the state.

West Virginia Manufacturers Association President Rebecca McPhail released a statement reacting to the failure of the bill.

“This is an unfortunate turn of events for West Virginia voters. The passage of SB837 on Monday set the stage for a true transformation for car owners, retailers and manufacturers that will benefit the entire state. But today’s vote by the West Virginia Senate, largely on party lines, robbed West Virginia voters of the opportunity to have the final say in whether that tax reform should happen.”

West Virginia Manufacturers Association President Rebecca McPhail

The West Virginia Democratic Legislative Council also released a statement explaining the Democratic senators’ reasons for voting against the amendment.

“Their reckless plan would have blown a huge hole in the budget and placed it squarely on the backs of citizens,” said Senator Stephen Baldwin, (D-Greenbrier).  “When fully enacted, 80% of citizens would have seen a tax increase because savings from the vehicle tax cut would have been wiped out by increases in sales and tobacco taxes.”

Senator Stephen Baldwin, (D-Greenbrier)

The West Virginia Education Association praised the final vote on the amendment.

“The senate leadership’s plan would not fully make up for the loss of revenue to our county governments and schools. It would have meant the continued loss of money for our already struggling local governments and county school systems. That translates to less deputies on the road, less programs in our schools and less services provided by local governments. It was a horrible plan that would have been devasting to our public safety, infrastructure and public schools. We are grateful to the bipartisan group of senators that voted against it.”

WVEA President Dale Lee

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