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Income Tax Repeal Still Concern for House Democrats

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Income Tax Repeal Still Concern for House Democrats
By Ashton Marra WV Public Broadcasting

Budget negotiations are continuing at the Capitol Thursday after a new revenue deal was presented to lawmakers earlier in the week. 

Gov. Jim Justice presented the new revenue bill to lawmakers Tuesday. The plan has been at the crux of budget negotiations between his office and members of both the House and Senate.

It includes a hike of the consumer sales tax from 6 to 6.35 percent and would get rid of several exemptions, imposing the tax on things like cell phone bills and home construction and renovations.

It would reduce the personal income tax by 20 percent over a three-year period, dropping the rate by 7 percent in the first year and setting economic triggers for the additional reductions.

It’s those triggers, though, that House Minority Leader Tim Miley said Thursday have yet to be hashed out.

“I’ll be honest with you, if we get to that point," he said, "that’s where the hardest fight is going to be because many of us are very concerned as to why we are reducing our income tax when we’re in the midst of a budget crisis.”

Miley said his caucus will not support income tax reductions based on state revenue alone.

The triggers could reflect job growth in the state, he said, or be tied to salary growth according to Workforce West Virginia data.

The full Legislature will return to the Capitol Monday to continue their work on the revenue measure and ultimately a budget bill.

Miley said it’s not likely that legislative leaders and the governor’s office will have a final deal on Monday, but he’s hopeful they can find a compromise and approve a budget by the end of next the week.