Gov. Justice submits legislation to repeal personal income tax, putting more money in every West Virginian’s pocket on day one

3/4/2021

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CHARLESTON, WV –
 Gov. Jim Justice announced today that he has submitted to the West Virginia Legislature a bill that will seize a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform West Virginia’s tax structure; raising wages, raising home values, bringing in more businesses, more people, and making life better for all West Virginians.

70 YEARS OF DECLINE – NOW IS WEST VIRGINIA’S TIME TO CHANGE THIS
From 1950 to 2016, the total population of the United States doubled. In that same time frame, 49 of 50 states saw their population increase. The only state that lost population in that span was West Virginia.

Between 2010 and 2020, West Virginia’s population decreased by 3.8%: the steepest rate of population decline in the country.

From 2016 (the year the Legislature passed Right-To-Work and Prevailing Wage) through the end of Gov. Justice’s first term in 2020 – despite instituting programs like Roads To Prosperity, despite investing in our Tourism, despite record-breaking revenue growth, and more – West Virginia still lost 2.6% of its population.
United States population: 1950-Present

THE OPPORTUNITY IS NOW
“We may never have an opportunity like this ever again,” Gov. Justice said. “Because of how we’ve handled the COVID-19 pandemic – how we’ve saved lives, had the best vaccine program in the nation, and kept our economy on the move – the spotlight of the world is on West Virginia right now. This is the time to seize our opportunity!

“We have all the building blocks in our state,” Gov. Justice continued. “We have an economy that’s truly on the launchpad, some of the greatest people you’ll find anywhere, who are smart, kind, faith-based, and hardworking people, along with four of the best seasons on Earth with more natural beauty than you could possibly imagine. But now we need to make a big move to put us over the top, so when people look at another population map 70 years from now, West Virginia will be right up there with the very top states in the country.

The last piece of this puzzle is the elimination of our personal income tax. That’s why I am proposing a plan to make this dream a reality starting with a 60% reduction in state income tax for year one.”

IMMEDIATE BENEFITS
West Virginia will become the first and only state in the mid-Atlantic or Northeast region to eliminate state income taxes.

The Governor’s plan will enable West Virginians to keep more of their hard-earned money.

The plan will also encourage job growth and population growth in West Virginia because people and businesses want to locate in low-tax states. West Virginia is also in the perfect geographic location to attract jobs and people to our state.

Every West Virginian will benefit from the Governor’s plan. All lower income brackets less than $35,000 a year will receive a tax rebate check under the plan. Low income and high income taxpayers will all see a net positive benefit if this plan is enacted.

PULLING THE ROPE TOGETHER
“To truly make this work, we all need to pull the rope together as West Virginians,” Gov. Justice said.

Pulling the rope together starts with changing the state consumer sales tax from 6.0% to 7.9%, while also adding a small, single-item luxury tax for certain high-value luxury items that only the very wealthy typically purchase. Under the Governor’s proposal, professional services, such as legal and accounting services will pay the same tax rate as skilled trades like plumbers and electricians. The consumer sales tax base will be expanded to include computer hardware/software, legal services, accounting services, other professional services, selected advertising, electronic data processing, and health and fitness memberships. These professional services will see a very substantial increase in business as people on the outside begin to migrate to West Virginia. 

For the first time since 1951, the tax on soft drinks will be changed. Additionally, taxes on tobacco products, beer, wine, and liquor will also be changed.

Gov. Justice’s plan also calls for a tiering system to be put in place for natural gas, oil, and coal severance taxes so that when times are good, these companies throw a little more in the collection plate, and when times are bad, the state steps up and lowers severance tax so that their critical jobs are protected.

MORE MONEY IN EVERY WEST VIRGINIAN’S POCKET
Gov. Justice’s plan puts more money in every West Virginian’s pocket. For the lowest income earners, rebates will be offered so these individuals are not negatively impacted by the changing of certain taxes.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW BILL ABSTRACT

CLICK HERE TO VIEW FULL BILL

Contact Information

Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov

Contact

Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

Governor's Mansion:
304.558.3588

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Banner Images Courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce

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