The Register-Herald of Beckley published this editorial on March 13th:
The West Virginia Income Tax Elimination Legislation proposed by Governor Jim Justice cannot find a friend on either side of the political corridor or out here in the real world among business types in suits and overalls for a myriad of reasons. His proposal seems dead, at least for the moment, upon his arrival.
We see the big idea of Big Jim as nothing new and nothing more than a bold shift in the tax burden in this state from wealthy people like the governor himself to those who are already struggling to find coins in their pillows to get dinner on top To lay the table.
When Justice pulled the curtains on his proposal to change the state’s tax laws broadly and profoundly, he also had to show us that he was raising a number of other taxes, including an increase in sales tax that would push them down to 7.9% highest of all states in the nation.
More importantly, the governor’s proposed tax policy is to require more of working families and working poor through regressive tax systems so that the state can reduce the tax burden on the rich.
Personal income tax revenue makes up about $ 2.1 billion of the state’s tax base, a little less than half of the general fund that broadly finances government services.
Under the governor’s plan, personal income tax cuts will initially amount to $ 1.036 billion, and tiny discounts for low-income people will amount to $ 52 million. To make up the nearly $ 1 billion difference? Other tax increases.
Therefore, the judiciary is proposing to increase taxes on soft drinks and tobacco, beer and wine. And for the first time, under the Justice Plan, the state would tax some professional services, including law firms, accountants, gyms, and more. The governor also wants a “luxury tax” on some items – including clothing, electronics, gadgets, boats, ATVs and snowmobiles, and more – that cost anywhere north of $ 5,000.
What if, like the governor, you think that the costs associated with these new taxes – for services or sales items – are not being passed on to consumers? Your thinking, like this plan, is flawed.
After all, the judiciary wants the severance taxes on coal, oil and natural gas to be graded, which pays more when the markets are better. If that day ever comes, of course.
If not, coal barons like the judiciary would pay less.
In case someone forgot, Governor Jim Justice is the richest person in the state.
In short, the governor’s tax proposal is half-hearted at best. Most worryingly, the governor would introduce a number of new taxes to relieve only the wealthiest in the state through the abolition of state income taxes.
At this stage in the judiciary’s tenure in the governor’s office, it looks like Big Jim is barely greasing the runners of the state’s tax laws for the benefit of himself.