|At least twice recently, the governor has said previous promises to drive growth — through establishing right-to-work, cutting the prevailing wage or cutting corporate taxes — haven’t delivered. “And we’ve run to the windows and they haven’t come,” Justice, a Republican, told the state Wednesday evening.
As Brad McElhinny with WV Metronews reports, Gov. Justice made the comments in his townhall meeting Wednesday evening.
Gov. Jim Justice has been pitching a big proposal to halve the state’s personal income tax, but his administration hasn’t yet presented a bill for people to examine. Justice suggested — but didn’t promise — that might change today.
“Probably tomorrow, I’ll have it to the Legislature,” Justice said during a Wednesday evening Town Hall event about his proposal.
Today is Day 16 of the 60-day annual legislative session, meaning it is a little more than one-quarter concluded.
The income tax in about $2.5 billion a year and represents about 43 percent of the state’s general fund, paying for services like education and healthcare.
So far, the proposal has been heavy on salesmanship and short on specifics.
Justice has been talking about cutting the income tax since the day after last fall’s General Election. He proposed its broad outlines during his State of the State address earlier this month.
The governor has hosted two Town Hall events already this week and seems to be promising more. And he met privately with legislative Democrats on Wednesday morning.
At least twice recently, the governor has said previous promises to drive growth — through establishing right-to-work, cutting the prevailing wage or cutting corporate taxes — haven’t delivered. “And we’ve run to the windows and they haven’t come,” Justice, a Republican, told the state Wednesday evening.
But this plan will be different, he said.
His pitch is that people know him by now and should trust him. And he’s betting on the absence of a West Virginia income tax being so attractive that people will come here in droves from elsewhere.
“Nothing has sex appeal like getting rid of your state income tax,” he said Wednesday night.
But what’s been missing is a detailed description of the tradeoffs. Justice is talking about raising a variety of other taxes, including the personal sales tax, but there have been precious few specifics for people to weigh against what he characterizes as the gain.
When a citizen identified as Shay from Moorefield asked on Wednesday what the plan actually is, Justice told her “It’s not going to hurt the state budget.”
But, in that moment, he stopped short of actually telling Shay the specifics of the plan to offset the cut.
“Now we don’t need to go through every little piece of it,” the governor said.
A few minutes later, though, state Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy spoke and delivered a somewhat more detailed version of what the tax plan would do than previously described.
The concept, Hardy said, is to cut the state personal income tax in half by next Jan. 1. That amounts to about a billion dollars.
“Then the question becomes, how do we keep West Virginia whole and keep things going smoothly?” Hardy said, noting that the governor has specified that the state General Fund should remain flat over the next several years.
Read the rest of McElhinny’s story here.