CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — West Virginia continues to see record budget surpluses. The question now is how should that money be spent or returned.
This is a big change from six and seven years ago when West Virginia’s budget deficits were about $500 million.
So far this fiscal year, West Virginia has collected a record-high of $453 million in coal and natural gas severance taxes. At the same time, personal income tax collections from all workers are up 15% over last year and consumer sales taxes from people buying things are up $86 million over last year.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said he is in talks with legislative leaders about giving money back to West Virginians through some types of tax cuts, that still have not been finalized.
“Without any question, our voters in the last election, spoke really clearly, did they not? They said that they absolutely want us to deliver tax cuts, and deliver tax cuts to the absolute hard-working West Virginians,” Justice said.
While an amendment to eliminate the West Virginia car tax and the business inventory tax went down to defeat, Gov. Justice believes voters would rather have their personal income taxes reduced. Bills to do that will likely be a big focus of the legislative session that begins on Jan. 11, 2023.
Right now there is a difference of opinion. Some want to gradually phase out the income tax, by 10% a year, over a decade while others want to eliminate the income tax in perhaps just three or four years.