Blog Posts > West Virginia’s $1 Billion Surplus Sparks Pitched Tax Battle
February 8, 2023

West Virginia’s $1 Billion Surplus Sparks Pitched Tax Battle

Associated Press, West Virginia News, WBOY, Times West Virginian,   – West Virginia’s Republican Senate leaders have answered the call to dramatically slash the state personal income tax by voting to shave 15% off the rate, returning about $600 million to residents. The amount is more than half the state’s budget surplus.

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GOP Senate leaders introduced the plan Wednesday and fast-tracked it to a unanimous “yes” vote the same day. They described it as a safer, more measured way to cut taxes than the roadmap put forth by Republican Gov. Jim Justice and approved last month by the West Virginia House of Delegates. That legislation would slice the personal income tax by 30% the first year and 10% in each of the subsequent two years.

Surging energy prices, led by the war in Ukraine, pushed the state’s budget surplus to $1.3 billion at the end of last fiscal year in July, as a tax on coal, natural gas and oil extraction filled government coffers. State leaders have said they expect that revenue to continue increasing. Critics of the proposed tax cuts warn that energy-related revenue is far from guaranteed, with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy having said such collections can be “highly volatile.”

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