BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Governor Jim Justice wants to eliminate the personal income tax in West Virginia. He held a town hall on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 to answer the questions and concerns about the plan.
To start the town hall, Governor Justice sang the praises of his staff and how well they continue to operate during the pandemic. Governor Justice said because of their hard work, West Virginia became a shining example for covid-19 testing and vaccine distribution. He said now the state has to take advantage of the national attention it continues to gain during the pandemic.
“There will be a point in time where West Virginia will slip back if we do not do something and do something with the opportunity right in our lap,” said Governor Justice.
Governor Justice said the best way to do so is by focusing on the state’s economy. He proposed the elimination of personal income tax.
But how will the state make up for the lost revenue? The Governor said part of the answer is by raising the consumer sales tax by 1.5 percent, imposing taxes on the purchase of tobacco products and soda, and imposing a luxury tax.
During the town hall, he was asked what this could cost the state in the long run.
“Well it won’t cost us anything except a tremendous amount of people that will come and bring job opportunity and goodness, goodness to this state,” said Governor Justice.
When it comes to opportunity, Governor Justice believes eliminating income taxes will lead to an increase in job opportunities, wages, and property values.
He was also asked why he was so confident this could work. The answer came from the State Secretary of Revenue, Dave Hardy, who explained how much they focused on the states who already operate without a state personal income tax.
“We also took a hard look at Tennessee because Tennessee is of course in many ways like West Virginia. Its got a lot of commonalities and geographically it is pretty close, so we felt like that is a place that we might be competing with,” Hardy explained.
At the end of the town hall, after all of the questions comments and concerns, Governor Justice left everyone listening with one message he wanted to get across.
“And I want everyone to hear me loud and clear, if we don’t do this, we will regret it forever,” said Justice.
Watch the full town hall here: