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Friday, May 19, 2017

With the House of Delegates' passage of HB 107 Friday afternoon, both legislative chambers have now passed revenue bills. But the House and Senate must now iron out the big differences in their bills, which are the main key to getting a budget passed before July 1.

The Senate tax reform plan (SB 1007) is most notable for increasing the state sales tax from 6 percent to 6.85 percent and also decreasing the personal income tax over time, which is the state’s most stable source of revenue. The Senate has been working closely with Gov. Justice on the plan.

The House of Delegates have taken a different approach, and HB 107 will end tax exemptions on cell phone and landline usage, health and fitness club memberships and other services. Among other new tax credits, it would phase out taxes on Social Security income over three years for people earning less than $100,000 and increase by $500 the personal income tax exemption for those making less than $100,000.

But the bill is also expected to be “at least $110 million short of the new budget Gov. Justice is expected to introduce in the coming days,” WV MetroNews reported.

The full Senate will return to work on Monday morning and the full House is expected back Tuesday afternoon, after the Senate considers HB 107.