Take Action To Protect West Virginia

SB 484 Will Be A Financial Disaster
Opinion
By Protect West Virginia

West Virginia needs tax reform and a budget that works for working West Virginians. The so-called “compromise tax plan” – an amendment added to Senate Bill 484 is not going to get us there. In fact, it would hit low- and middle-income West Virginians especially hard and set the state up for fiscal disaster, as the state’s largest source of revenue – the personal income tax – is phased-out. 

SB 484 would add $115 million to our state’s deficit after one year and lead to a tax increase for 80 percent of West Virginians, while providing a tax break for the wealthiest 20 percent in West Virginia. 
 
 
West Virginia already has an upside down tax system that asks more of low- and middle-income earners. We should be working in the opposite direction and trying to turn this upside down tax system right side up. 
 

Not only does SB 484 shift the tax load into working West Virginians, but it fails to address the state’s structural revenue imbalance, which is certain to lead to more budget deficits and cuts to vital services. 

Key elements of SB 484: 

  • Phases out the state’s personal income tax over 20 years, which is not only the state’s largest source of revenue, but the only tax that is based on the ability to pay; 
  • Reduces the number of personal income tax brackets from five to three, with the highest bracket beginning at $35,000 annually, providing the wealthy tax breaks at the expense of the working-class; 
  • Broadens the sales tax base to include personal services such as barbers and beauticians, telecommunications, personal fitness membership and service, electronic data processing, opinion research, and professional employer organizations (all at 7 percent) as well as mobile homes (at 6.5 percent). 
  • Activates Governor Jim Justice’s commercial activity tax and high-income surcharge for three years; 
  • Provides two percent teacher pay raise;
  • Increases the fuel tax by 8 cents and raises motor vehicle fees; and
  • Drastically lowers the state’s severance tax rates on coal and natural gas.

West Virginia needs common sense tax reform that rebalances the state’s tax system while providing enough revenue to close the state’s $500 million budget gap and invest in the building blocks of thriving communities, such as schools, public colleges, transportation, and public safety.

For too long corporations and the wealthy have not paid their fair share. Help us Protect West Virginia by taking these actions! 

  • Reach out to lawmakers and tell them West Virginia needs tax reform that works for working West Virginians, not against them.
  • Show your support by changing your Facebook, Twitter or other social media pictures to the Protect West Virginia logo below.
  • Share the above graphic displaying the tax shift responsibility onto low- and middle-income West Virginians that is needed to pay for the tax break for the wealthy.