WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – “My budget does not decrease. My budget increases.”
Governor Jim Justice had some strong words for West Virginians as he continues to push for the legislature to cut the state’s personal income tax.
Governor Justice maintains his claim that under his plan no money gets taken from the state budget.
He said people saying that are trying to scare others away from the tax cuts.
The Governor was at Independence Hall in Wheeling on Friday answering questions about his proposal that cuts personal income tax by 50% over the next three years. 30% would be cut the first year and then 10% each year after that.
While taking questions, the Governor assured people in attendance that there was no chance he would take from another service to make sure this tax proposal succeeds.
There is no way we’re gonna say ‘well to insure that the PIT (personal income tax) is really rock solid we’re gonna cut services over here’. No chance. No chance I’m going to do that.Governor Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia
That bill passed the House with an overwhelming 95-2 majority and now is in the hands of the State Senate.
Governor Justice also detailed a $700 million surplus fund he’s set aside to make sure the income tax reduction is sustainable. However, he’s confident the state won’t have to use it.
All the numbers of everything that we run in every different conservative scenario say rock solid. But, now you’ve got a $700 million-dollar rainy day fund that if we have a blip on the screen, no matter what it may be, it’s there for us to draw from that. If we don’t have the blips on the screen, which we don’t think we’re gonna have, then those dollars can be spent for whatever as we go forward.Governor Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia
Joining the Governor in Wheeling was West Virginia Department of Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy. Prior to the Governor’s town hall, he made a short presentation about why cutting the personal income tax matters.
Hardy said the income tax in West Virginia is higher than in all surrounding states, but under the Governor’s plan it would become the lowest.
Population growth has also been a big topic in the Mountain State recently. Hardy addressed that, citing studies that say states who don’t have an income tax grow twice as fast in population.
In a one-on-one with Governor Justice, 7News asked him if he thought the income tax plan would pass the Senate.
I think we’ll get the Senate there. We’re 2/3 of the way there.Governor Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia
Governor Justice continued on to say that the Senate wants to know more about the numbers and the budget.
They deserve to know about that and we’re willing and standing in every avenue to be able to give them any and all numbers. We did the same thing for the House and the House got through it very quickly 95-2 vote.Governor Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia
7News did have an extensive conversation with Governor Justice about what’s happening during this year’s Legislative Session. He discussed the plan for PEIA, giving money to veterans who re-locate to West Virginia and his possible U.S. Senate run. We’ll bring you those stories in the coming days.