Governor says state can’t afford income tax cut and property tax cut
Gov. Jim Justice, a former proponent of property tax cuts for businesses, concluded that the state would gain more economic benefit from an income tax cut — and that it cannot afford to do so. both.
The governor says the state’s current fiscal health now means it can afford a major personal income tax cut.
“Let’s be completely fair. Nobody on the planet would have ever really dreamed — nobody on the planet would have ever dreamed that we would ever be able to get rid of personal income tax. Personal income tax is a real engine of real growth for people across the country,” he said on MetroNews’ “Talkline” today.
“Now today we have a chance – we have a chance to do this. Listen, I would be in favor of removing all taxes in all honesty, but you can only afford to do so much. So today oday we are at a crossroads.
Why is it @WVGovernor opposed to amendment 2? Governor Justice explains his point of view on why he is against it. Dave Hardy, WV Tax and Revenue Secretary, also provides context. They both join @HoppyKercheval. LOOK: https://t.co/yCFQ3nDJuy pic.twitter.com/tYGvR7qwTj
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) September 26, 2022
Justice crosses the roads of West Virginia to deliver this message.
The governor was in Wheeling on Friday to promote his income tax cut proposal while campaigning against the passage of Amendment 2, which would give lawmakers the ability to change property taxes. Today, the governor’s schedule took him to Beckley for the same message.
In previous years, the governor has expressed support for lower property taxes that businesses pay on their equipment, machinery and inventory.
In his 2018 State Address State, Justice presented a proposal he called “Just Cut Taxes and Win”. “What I want to start is the elimination of the tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment and manufacturing inventory,” he told the crowd that evening.
For 2019 addresshe went on to state, “Today I call for the elimination of the business inventory machinery tax.”
And in 2020, he repeated the message“The tax on business stocks and machinery is holding us back in certain areas. We have to try – we have to try to find a solution where we can either put ourselves on a glide path or quickly on a better glide path to eliminate this tax if we can.
In those 2020 remarks, the governor expressed some caution about the types of local services supported by property taxes in West Virginia. But his conclusion remains in favor of lowering property taxes.
“We have to be careful. There are counties to consider, school boards, there are people we absolutely want to protect. We have to be careful. We have to be careful about where we are with our general finances. We have to be careful and we have to be smart. But I don’t want anyone to doubt that I’d like it to go away. I would like it to disappear. At least gone in time.
The governor’s current message places greater emphasis on the role property taxes play in supporting schools and other aspects of local government. Today he said he would cut all the taxes he could – but he’s learned enough to be careful when it comes to property tax.
“We know a lot more things now,” he said. “In 2018 and 2019, if you had said to Jim Justice, let’s get rid of taxes, I would absolutely support removing anything that we could have gotten rid of, but it’s a different animal today,” he said.
State lawmakers have long talked about having more flexibility with property taxes, especially those that businesses pay on equipment and inventory. Last year, lawmakers passed a resolution that could allow changes to personal property tax rates.
Because it is a constitutional issue, voters in West Virginia have their say on the issue through the general election ballots.
Property taxes are a primary component of how counties pay for services such as school systems, ambulance services, libraries and more.
Earlier this month, the boards of directors of the West Virginia Counties Association and the West Virginia County Commissioners Association voted to oppose Amendment 2, “the Property Tax Modernization Amendment”. The first group represents county assessors, circuit clerks, county clerks, prosecutors and sheriffs.
The groups cited loss of authority over approximately $550 million in “dedicated and constitutionally protected revenue” — and “turning that money over to the Legislative Assembly.” They also expressed concern over the lack of consensus between the Senate, House and governor on a solid plan to offset local government revenues.
“This is really a transfer of fiscal responsibility. You have to concede it. You just have to do it,” Kanawha County Commission Chairman Kent Carper said today on “Talkline”.
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) September 26, 2022