September 4, 2022
In this Jan. 8, 2020, photo, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice delivers his annual State of the State address in the House Chambers at the state Capitol in Charleston, W. Va.
Chris Jackson / AP
CHARLESTON, WV - As the West Virginia government continues to reel in large revenue surpluses, Gov. Jim Justice is once again pushing the Senate to approve tax cuts across the board.
Over the month of August, West Virginia took in about $507 million, which was nearly one-third higher than the same month last year and nearly $142 million above estimates. The state finished the last fiscal year with a revenue surplus of more than $1.3 billion and continues to have large surpluses month after month.
After the state released its August revenue numbers, Justice urged the Senate to approve his plan to cut income taxes by 10%. The governor called a special session in late July to consider his tax cut proposal, which was meant to be the first step in ultimately eliminating the income tax. Although it passed the House of Delegates with bipartisan support, it could not get enough votes in the Republican-led Senate.
“I once again plead with the State Senate to give our hard working West Virginians an immediate and permanent 10% cut of the personal income tax,” Justice said in a statement.
“These surpluses are the taxpayers' dollars, and should be returned to them in the most efficient and fastest way possible,” the governor continued. “Proper minding of the state’s finances has led to this incredible opportunity for our taxpayers and the entire state of West Virginia. Without question, the elimination of the personal income tax would drive growth and prosperity to our state for decades to come.”
Justice noted the House is already on board with his plan, but urged people to contact their state senators and ask them to support the proposal. Although the legislation would cut income taxes by 10% overall, it would not be a flat tax cut. Rather, the cut would be tiered in a way to provide greater tax relief to low-income West Virginians.
Personal income tax collections were $186 million in August, which is more than 20% higher than the same month in the previous year. Year-to-date collections are more than 17% above the previous year at this time. Consumer sales tax collections were nearly $151 million in August, which is nearly 7% higher than the same month last year. Year-to-date collections are also about 7% higher than the same time in the previous year.
Severance tax collections hit an all-time record high for August with the state taking in more than $129 million. Last August, the state took in less than $46 million in severance taxes, which shows an increase of more than $83 million this August.