CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Before announcing a new trade deal with Vietnam, Governor Jim Justice made another pitch to voters about his plan to eliminate the state’s personal income tax.
It’s still a pretty tight debate on whether this is the right move for West Virginia. Some are saying tax reform is necessary, but there needs a phased in plan for it to work.
“Because now is our moment. Now is our moment when everybody, everybody is watching West Virginia.” said, Governor Justice in his opening statements of Wednesday night’s town hall.
But some West Virginia lawmakers say his plan may be a little too ambitious. “I’m a little concerned about some part of his plan, I think it’s a little too aggressive, maybe too big of a bite of the apple too quickly.” said, Delegate Jason Barrett (R) – Berkeley.
But Barrett agrees that some sort of tax reform is necessary saying, “Whether that’s a five, six, or eight year plan to phase out income tax in a very fiscally responsible manner so that we don’t cut necessary programs in West Virginia.”
While others are worried those necessary programs will be hurt by eliminating the personal income tax. West Virginia for Affordable Healthcare Executive Director, Jessie Ice, says, “Any of the services that we rely on in the state would be severely impacted if we went through with the repeal of the personal income tax.”
Ice says that even a ‘phase-in’ plan won’t work. “Phasing in might make it, I suppose hurt a little less, but it’s going to hurt low-income people.”
But the Governor is standing by his proposal, saying it’s now, or never.
“When it really boils right down to it West Virginia, we have a chance. We have a chance while everybody is watching us. We have a chance to move that would drive absolute opportunity to the state beyond belief. I believe that with my whole soul.”Gov. Jim Justice (R) – West Virginia