The special session of the West Virginia Legislature resumed, with some new revenue ideas from the Governor. He reduced his requested sales tax hike to 6.85-percent; and the 20-percent income tax reduction will now be over two years in stated of all at once. Telecommunications and broadband companies, may soon have to collected sales tax. While the Governor and Senate were in general agreement on the last plan, the new ideas may change that.
“There’s some new elements to it that may have to be worked over. Because you are bringing in some taxable events in this particular plan that are new, and you know I am already hearing some opposition to those,” said State Sen. Mike Hall, (R) Chairman, Finance Committee.
The special session is costing taxpayers $35,000 a day. The Senate did pass the original revenue plan the Governor proposed.
“But unfortunately leadership in the House didn’t think so. So here we are back, hopefully getting results done and not simply waiting taxpayers money,” said Del Shawn Fluharty, (D) Ohio.
But critics say the latest stalemate is the Governor’s fault.
“How can you ask the legislature to vote on tax increase when you have no idea where he wants to spend them. That’s just wrong. He needs to gives us a budget, give us a budget quickly so we have an idea where he wants this money spent,” said Del. Gary Howell, (R) Mineral.
In the meantime, there remains sharp division on whether to raise the gas tax to build and fix roads.
“Our roads are in bad shape right now. We all know that. I tell people I’m from McDowell County and our nickname is ‘the patch’ because all we do is patch the roads. We don’t fix any roads; we don’t pave any roads. We just simply patch them,” said Del. Ed Evans, (D) McDowell.
The budget deficit stands at $500 million.
“With so many issues still uncertain, there’s no way of telling just how long this special session of the legislature will last,” said Mark Curtis 59 News Chief Political Reporter.