Special legislative session on WV budget starts Thursday at 11 a.m.

Special legislative session on WV budget starts Thursday at 11 a.m.. Gov.
Jim Justice issued a special session call Wednesday afternoon, pulling West Virginia legislators into session at 11 a.m. Thursday to address three major themes, including a revenue compromise worked out with Senate leadership that increases sales taxes but lowers income taxes.
Justice did not spell out details in the special session call or accompanying news release, although indications are that the plan is essentially unchanged from proposals discussed last week, resulting from negotiations that began with Senate leaders on the last night of the regular session, on April 8.
Justice’s call specifies three main topics of legislation to be taken up in the special session: n The revenue measure, including the sales tax increase and income tax phase-out, an income tax exemption for military pensions, a temporary increase in the corporate net tax, a surcharge on West Virginians with incomes over $300,000 and the tiered severance tax.
Previously, Justice chief of staff Nick Casey said the revenue plan includes a 1 percent increase in the consumer sales tax to raise about $180 million a year; elimination of sales tax exemptions on telecommunications and data processing services to raise more than $60 million in additional revenue; a temporary increase in the corporate net from 6.5 percent to 8.5 percent to raise $45 million a year; and a surcharge on wealthy West Virginians to raise about $4 million a year.
As the West Virginia Center for Budget & Policy has noted, because the sales tax increase would take effect on July 1, while the income tax cuts would not go into effect until 2018, the plan provides additional revenue for the 2017-18 budget, but ultimately results in a $70 million a year revenue shortfall — a budget deficit that supporters of the income tax cuts contend can be made up through growth in the economy.
Justice also is proposing an increase in tax credits available for restoring historic buildings, reviving legislation that failed to pass in the regular session.
Casey has said the road bonds are integral to the overall revenue plan, since the income tax cuts are not feasible without the economic stimulus the road construction package would provide.
As Carmichael noted Wednesday, indications are that there is general support for the revenue plan among the Justice administration, Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, and House Democrats — with House Republicans being the exception.
The second bill merged several state mine safety boards and helped coal companies avoid lawsuits over stream contamination cleanup.

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