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Justice ready to move on with car tax rebate plan, path toward income tax elimination

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice says he won’t delay in giving his car tax rebate bill to state lawmakers when next year’s regular session begins.

Jim Justice

“I will send up a bill on day one of the session in getting rid of the car tax forevermore,” Justice said Wednesday on MetroNews “Talkline.”

Justice’s position on tax relief is buoyed by the lopsided defeat of Amendment 2 in Tuesday’s General Election. The proposed amendment, backed by Republican lawmakers, would have allowed the legislature to eliminate some property taxes on businesses and the car tax. Justice mounted a successful statewide campaign, what most believe is the main reason why the amendment was defeated.

Justice said his rebate plan will work without a change in the constitution.

“I’ll not only to get rid of it but rebate you back to January 2022,” Justice said.

Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, who pushed for the passage of Amendment 2 said Wednesday he wouldn’t personally support Justice’s rebate plan.

“I don’t know about my caucus but from my standpoint it’s a silly bill. Craig Blair doesn’t think much of it,” Blair said.

SEE results of constitutional amendment votes here

Blair added he would support the decision of his new caucus which will have 30 members in the next session.

“I’m going to be with the caucus and I’m going to try to do what’s right by the people of West Virginia,” Blair said.

He believes jumping through the hoops of a rebate, which may take months to process, is a lot more difficult than just eliminating the tax altogether.

Secondly, Justice said he’ll send the legislature a comprehensive plan that will move toward the total elimination of the state’s personal income tax. Justice said Wednesday he wants lawmakers to aid in the formation of the plan.

“It will be welcomed to work with Senate leadership and House leadership to develop that plan,” Justice said.

He said it’s time to go big.

“We need to absolutely get on a pathway that convinces the outside world that we in West Virginia are going to someday, sooner than later, get rid of our income tax in its entirety in West Virginia,” Justice said.

Craig Blair

Blair said he supports reducing the income tax but also said Justice should know the legislature has a deliberative process and it may take time.

There were some things said between the governor and senate leaders during the governor’s campaign to defeat Amendment 2. He said he’s ready to move on.

“I don’t harbor bad feelings. At the end of the day, they (Senate leaders) were very misguided,” Justice said. “We need to just patch up move forward and let’s get on about doing the people’s work.”

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