Get Rid of W.Va.'s Income Tax? Lawmakers Take on Tax Reform

West Virginia Public Broadcasting -A select group of West Virginia lawmakers began an arduous process Monday, combing through the state's current tax code and finding ways to bring it "into the 21st Century," as one delegate put it. Read. Listen.

The Joint Select Committee on Tax Reform was one of only four committees to meet during April interims, the first held under the new Republican leadership. 

House Finance Chair Eric Nelson, who is co-chairing the committee with his Senate counterpart Mike Hall, told the group of 10 Republicans and four Democrats "everything is on the table," and for Hall, everything includes the state's personal income tax.

"Some state have no income tax," he said during Monday's meeting, "and we know that people gravitate toward those states. It would be wonderful it we could figure out a way to do that."

Doing that, according to Ted Boettner, executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, would result in a $2 billion loss in revenue for West Virginia, or about 40 percent of the state's total budget.

"To do something like that, eventually getting rid of the personal income take, you're talking about a major tax shift, most likely on low and moderate income people in this state who can least afford it," he said.


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