Tax Bills Lack Transparency, Accountability

For Immediate Release  Media Contact: Caitlin Cook, 304.720.8682 (Charleston, WV) During both the regular and special legislative session, the Senate passed tax bills without knowing what the fiscal impact of those bills would be on West Virginia's budget amid a $500 million budget deficit. PDF news release.

This is of grave concern. Policymakers are gambling with the state's future when they support bills without an adequate fiscal note.

The House of Delegates Finance Committee leadership should be commended for consulting with an outside, independent firm to better understand how the latest version of the tax and budget plan would impact the state's revenue, its bond rating, and its ability to properly fund education, public safety, and other vital services utilized by citizens.

"It is imperative that policymakers, the media, and the public know the fiscal impact of legislation that makes changes to the state's tax system, especially large sweeping changes that dramatically reduce our state's largest revenue source," Ted Boettner, Executive Director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy said. "Promises of a coal resurgence or boom in construction jobs are no substitute for sound revenue estimates of pending legislation that should be standard practice."

Fiscal notes are standard practice throughout the country because they foster transparency and accountability in government and policy. Despite this, tax reform bills Senate Bill 119, SB 1004 and SB 1007 were sent over to the House without a fiscal note.

It is encouraging that 11 senators were willing to vote against SB 1007, as important questions remain unanswered as to how the bill would impact state revenue after the first year of implementation.



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