CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Senate President Mitch Carmichael says the Senate leadership will propose a bill in this year’s regular legislative session to phase out the state’s personal property tax on business inventory and equipment over a seven-year period.
The bill will propose slashing the tax by $20 million a year during the phase out, Carmichael said during an appearance Wednesday on MetroNews “Talkline.”
“It’s always been difficult to eliminate that tax but we think we have a way to do that now in conjunction with the governor’s office, we’re working very closely with them and the House leadership, to put in a plan that would phase that tax out,” Carmichael said.
The elimination of the tax and the approximately $140 million in brings in annually would require voters to approve a constitutional amendment. Carmichael said the proposed amendment would include wording to guarantee funding would not be cut to those who currently benefit from the tax revenue.
“We’re going to put into the constitutional amendment, a guarantee, that they receive the exact amount of money, every county that’s currently receiving this tax, will receive the exact amount of money going forward,” Carmichael said.
Most of the money collected from the tax goes to school districts. Carmichael said the new money would come from the state’s general revenue fund based on increased tax revenue and spending cuts. He said this year’s $20 million would come from the money set aside for unfilled employee positions in state government.
Carmichael said the tax has killed job creation in West Virginia for years. He said the top priority for phasing out the tax is to create jobs not just to give business owners a tax cut.
“It certainly helps them but the goal is to create jobs and opportunity,” Carmichael said.
The legislature’s 60-day regular session begins Jan. 10.