CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Delegate Riley Moore, R-Jefferson, today encouraged his colleagues to consider sensible, comprehensive tax reform to help put West Virginia on a path to long-term economic growth.
“West Virginia’s economy has languished in recent years, resulting in the budget problems we now face,” Delegate Moore said. “If we truly want to fix our structural budget problems, we need to have a tax system that embodies fairness and makes the state competitive with its neighbors.”
Moore has sponsored two pieces of legislation that reform the state’s tax structure. Both are designed to be revenue-neutral, meaning they would not raise the overall amount of taxes collected in the state.
House Bill 2933 would reduce the state’s consumer sales tax to 5.5 percent on Jan. 1, 2018, while also putting it on a path to drop to 5 percent in coming years – provided certain budgetary benchmarks are met. Delegate Moore is the lead sponsor on this bill, which is co-sponsored by Delegates Boogie Ambler, R-Greenbrier; Geoff Foster, R-Putnam; Carol Miller, R-Cabell; Lynne Arvon, R-Raleigh; Zack Maynard, R-Lincoln; and John Shott, R-Mercer.
The reduction would be made possible by eliminating some of the sales tax exemptions currently in code, such as exemptions for telecommunications services, car rentals, gym memberships and electronic data processing.
“The overriding principle behind our tax system should be that it treats everyone fairly,” Delegate Moore said. “Over the years, we’ve inserted several exemptions and special carve-outs into the tax code to give certain industries special treatment while pushing that burden onto other consumers. Government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers. By broadening our tax base and lowering the rate, we promote fairness while also collecting less in taxes on individual transactions.”
The second tax reform proposal is House Bill 2934, which Delegate Moore co-sponsored with House Finance Committee Chairman Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, and Committee Vice-Chairman Eric Householder, R-Berkeley. This bill would eliminate the state’s five personal income tax brackets, and instead replace them with a flat tax of 5.1 percent.
“Everyone should be treated fairly under our tax system, and the ultimate way to accomplish that is a flat tax,” Delegate Moore said. “Having a simplified, fairer tax code could promote economic growth and encourage people to move and invest here because our tax structure is easier to navigate and manage.”
Both bills are currently before the House Finance Committee for consideration.