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What other newspapers are saying: West Virginia lawmakers should consider tax cut proposal

Recently, lawmakers in West Virginia will convene in special session to discuss Gov. Jim Justice’s proposal to cut the personal income tax rate by 10%.

Justice has advocated over the past few years for the elimination of the state personal income tax.

“I’ve been the biggest proponent of completely eliminating our state personal income tax. It will drive job growth, population growth and prosperity in West Virginia. But the most important thing to do is get started right away,” Justice said. “… Once we get the ball rolling, we can keep coming back and chipping away at our personal income tax until it’s completely eliminated. When you look at states like Florida, Texas and Tennessee, they have no personal income tax and their state economies are growing like crazy. There is a direct correlation. People are moving to no-income-tax states because they can keep more of their hard-earned paycheck, which spurs ever greater economic activity. …”

Justice may be right.

West Virginia finds itself in a strong financial position. The Legislature has done an admirable job over the past few years in holding the line on spending, which, when combined with other federal rescue plan funds, has given the state a substantial surplus of $1.3 billion.

Reducing the income tax was certainly one of the factors driving the economic and population growth in the states the governor proposes as models.

Even with Justice’s proposed 10% income tax cut, West Virginia will continue to have, in many categories, higher income tax rates than the others states on its borders. It would be more reasonable to expect to attract new residents if our income tax rates were lower than the states from which they were moving.

It’s past time for the state to find an improved model for population and economic growth. It’s time for bold ideas that will propel the state forward. As the governor has proposed, eliminating the personal income tax may be an important element in making that happen, and we encourage lawmakers to begin real discussions on the matter.

— Parkersburg News and Sentinel

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