CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice delivers the annual State of the State Address, Wednesday, Feb. 10 during a joint session of the West Virginia Legislature in the House of Delegates chamber.
“The light of the world is shining on West Virginia right now,” Justice said.
The governor said a major plan in the works finding a plan to repeal the state income tax. Talks have been going on between the governor’s office and legislators in the past weeks to look for possible ways to move forward with eliminating the tax.
Justice says the state currently has a $4.5 billion budget, $2.1 million of which comes from the personal income tax. To balance out eliminating the tax, Justice proposed a 1.5% increase on the overall sales tax, along with additional increases on tobacco and soda. He says West Virginia’s weathier citizens would still pay the personal income tax. The plan would be to keep people in the Mountain State’s workforce from leaving the state for work and to vamp up tourism to help share that sales tax, alleviating some of that from the working class.
Earlier on Inside West Virginia Politics, West Virginia Senate President Craig Blair (R-Berkeley) said phasing out the state’s income tax could become part of the upcoming session. He says if the tax is eliminated, there is no defined timeline and it could still take several years to fully remove the tax. Blair also told Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis eliminating the tax would help bring people to the Mountain State rather than seeing them move to states that already have no income tax.
Justice also talked about the state’s work creating new jobs, combatting both drug issues and the COVID-19 pandemic and balancing the state’s budget.