Charleston Gazette-Mail – Even with an upswing in state tax collections, representatives of the House and Senate Finance Committees conceded Friday it will be difficult to stretch the 2019-20 state budget to fund all the proposed new initiatives. Read article.
That includes Gov. Jim Justice’s pledge for another 5 percent pay increase for teachers, school service personnel and other state employees, at a cost of about $140 million a year, and to commit an additional $100 million to the Public Employees Insurance Agency.
There also are legislative proposals pending to eliminate income taxes on Social Security retirement benefits, at a cost of about $100 million a year; to create a free community college tuition program, costing about $7 million a year; to establish an intermediate appeals court, at an undetermined cost; and for a referendum for a Constitutional amendment to eliminate the state property tax on business machinery and inventory, at a potential cost of as much as $135 million a year.
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