CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Efforts to reform taxes in West Virginia will take on a different tone in the coming legislative session.
After numerous proposals to make big changes to income and sales tax structures failed to pass state lawmakers plan to focus their efforts on eliminating one specific tax in 2018, the state’s personal property tax on inventory, machinery and equipment.
Voters would have to pass a Constitutional Amendment to remove the tax, but State Senator Charles Trump said he doesn’t think that would be too hard.
“That’s easy,” he said. “We can all say ‘Yeah, I’m for that!’ and everybody salutes it. That hard part is, how do you replace the revenue?”
The tax, which generates an estimated $235 million dollars this year, is seen as a hindrance to economic growth and puts the state at a competitive disadvantage.
The challenge, according to Trump, is that roughly 2/3 of that money does not come back to the state.
“It’s revenue that goes to county governments, municipal governments, and principally to county boards of education.”
Trump expects a number of proposals to be put forward as ways to replace the revenue, including the possibility of offering counties home rule status.
Trump said he would love to eliminate the tax but will not do anything that might have a negative impact on budgets for county schools.