Lawmakers begin tackling West Virginia budget proposal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The West Virginia House of Delegates finance committee will receive a presentation on Gov. Jim Justice’s budget proposal Friday morning.

Justice’s plan calls for a no-growth, $4.56 billion budget that generally keeps funding levels flat across state government with no pay raises for public employees. Despite the pandemic, the state’s revenues were mostly unchanged from last March thanks to federal pandemic aid, low interest rates and tax collections faring better than what was worst feared.

Over the 60-day legislative session that began this week, lawmakers will tackle Justice’s proposal to cut the state’s personal income tax. Justice wants to initially cut the state income tax by half for everyone except “the super highest earners,” who would see a reduction by one-third.

It would be funded by a 1.5% sales tax hike and tax increases on the wealthy and on the sale of soda and tobacco.