CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said his proposal to reduce state income tax by 50% “doesn’t have mudflaps or squirrel tails.”
“We’re going to cut your taxes by 50%,” he said during a town hall event on Monday.
Justice said he hopes the income tax cuts will attract more workers to West Virginia.
The proposal would reduce state income tax by 50% over the course of three years beginning with a 30% reduction as part of a phase-out in June 2023. The remaining 20% would be reduced over the following two years.
It passed by a 95-2 vote in the house, Justice said, but it’s up to the Senate to get the proposal “the other third of the way there.”
When asked if Justice would be willing to compromise on the amount of income tax to be cut, or the years, he suggested he would be willing to change the phases, but that he wants to cut income taxes by 50%.
“We don’t have to cut the budget at all to implement the governor’s tax plan,” Secretary of Revenue Dave Hardy said.
Hardy said West Virginia’s 2023 budget has a surplus of $1.7 billion, meaning the base budget would not need to be cut at all.
“By the end of fiscal year ’24, the upcoming fiscal year, we will return about $1.1 billion to the people of West Virginia, and that will have an effect, and those dollars will be spent and they will multiply,” Hardy said.
He also floated the idea that one day, West Virginia may be able to cut its income tax entirely.
Justice also addressed a push in the House of Delegates and the State Senate to try and limit the governor’s powers during a State of Emergency after the COVID-19 pandemic.