CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed its version of a bill that would eliminate the state’s personal income tax.
The House passed the bill on a 77-23 vote Monday. It now goes to the state Senate.
The House version would reduce statewide income taxes by $150 million annually until they are eliminated. The bill does not address other tax increases to balance out the cuts.
Under the bill, a special fund would be established to tap other state income sources, including lottery proceeds. At the end of a fiscal year, if the special fund has $400 million or more, $100 million of that fund would be transferred to the state’s general revenue fund.
Republican Gov. Jim Justice has introduced his version of eliminating the personal income tax that would increase the consumer sales tax rate from 6% to 7.9%. Justice's proposal would give residents a 60% cut in the personal income tax in the first year.
To further balance the income tax cut, Justice anticipates changes in severance taxes on the production of coal, oil and natural gas as well as increases in taxes on tobacco products, beer, wine and liquor.
West Virginia lost nearly 4% of its population over the past decade. Justice has said the end goal of attracting more residents to the state could mean more tax dollars, better schools, and higher wages and property values.