WV House passes tax credit bill, ends special session

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The West Virginia House of Delegates ended its special legislative session Monday after passing a measure to extend the state’s tourism tax credit program.

The chamber approved the proposal on a 87-9 vote and formally finished its second legislative overtime of the year.

The Senate expedited the measure last month but it stalled in the House amid questions of whether businesses owned by Republican Gov. Jim Justice could benefit from the tax credit.

A legislative report on the program later found that two projects at the governor’s lavish resort, The Greenbrier, are eligible for the credit. A spokesman for the governor’s office didn’t return a voicemail. A spokesman for the governor’s businesses didn’t immediately comment.

Del. Mick Bates, a Democrat, attempted to amend the bill to forbid elected officials from getting the credit but was overruled by Republican House Speaker Roger Hanshaw.

“This is not how this process is supposed to work,” said Bates, adding that lawmakers should have more time to process a measure that “deals specifically with the credits that are available, potentially, to businesses and entities that are under the control, and the direction, of our chief executive.”

Justice last month abruptly called the special session and tasked lawmakers with the tax credit bill as well as a proposal to stop expunging DUI convictions and a measure to allow the state to pay off a road bond. The DUI bill and the road bond bill quickly passed both chambers and were signed by Republican Gov. Jim Justice.

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