Outgoing West Virginia governor proposes sales tax increase
- Jan 12, 2017 | Gail Cole
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) bid farewell yesterday to 42 years of public service, the last six of which were spent in the governor’s mansion. His parting message to the State Legislature was one of gratitude and hope. His advice: continue to be fiscally responsible. These are wise words, given that the state is facing a $165 million budget deficit and anticipates a deficit of $400 million in the next fiscal year.
At the end of his address, the governor put in a plug for his budget proposal. It includes a one percent increase in the consumer sales tax, which he says will bring in an additional $200 million. It also eliminates the current sales tax exemption on telecommunications services.
This isn’t the first time Gov. Tomblin has proposed these tax changes. Last spring, he backed Senate Bill 1004, which sought to increase the sales tax rate from six percent to seven percent, and S.B. 1003, which sought to tax telecommunications services (both were held up in the Finance Committee). He also supported tax increases for tobacco products.
Outgoing Gov. Tomblin will be replaced by Jim Justice, a Republic-turned-Democrat coal baron billionaire, on January 16, 2017. The governor-elect has promised to balance the budget without raising taxes.
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