West Virginia Legislative Brief for 1/31/20

By: L. Gil White

Published: January 31, 2020

My View from the Capitol

One of the more significant tax resolutions being considered this year received consideration on Thursday in the State Senate Judiciary Committee. Senators took a first look at a resolution that could later allow them to cut taxes on motor vehicles and other personal property.

The Senate Judiciary Committee discussed the resolution (SJR 9) for about three hours Thursday afternoon before a majority of members voted to pass it. It now goes to the Senate Finance Committee for more discussion of its possible financial effects.

Final passage would require two-thirds majorities in both houses of the Legislature. Then West Virginia citizens would vote on an amendment because property taxes are embedded in the state constitution. Republicans, who generally support the tax cuts, asked questions about the possibility of economic and job growth that could result from manufacturers reinvesting. Democrats questioned how to make up for the lost tax revenue. Much of the money from property taxes flows to support county governments and local school systems which would have to be back filled in order to keep the status quo.

The House Finance Committee got a first look at a high-priority bill aimed at kickstarting additional capital investment in West Virginia.

House Speaker Roger Hanshaw has said his top priority is establishing a capital investment fund that would let the state partner with companies or the sovereign funds of other nations. The bill (HB 4001) would establish a Mountaineer Impact Fund, using state financial assets that have been allocated already, so West Virginia could serve as an official partner in investment deals. Under the newly-established structure, West Virginia could be the top line investor in a variety of projects.

Legislative Calendar – Important Days to Remember

First Day – January 8

20th Day – January 27 – Submission of Legislative Rule-Making Review Bills Due

35th Day – February 11 – Last day to introduce bills in the House

41st Day – February 17 – Last day to introduce bills in the Senate

47th Day – February 23 – Bills due out of committee in house of origin to ensure three full days for readings

50th Day – February 26 – Last day to consider bills on third reading in house of origin. Does not apply to the budget bill or supplemental appropriation bills.

60th Day – March 7 – Adjournment at midnight

News From Around the State

House Dems Call for Legalization of Cannabis

Delegates size up creation of ‘Mountaineer Impact Fund’ for W.Va. to partner with investors 

Delegates narrowly vote down bill to define school calendar

Governor, US Senate seats up in this year’s election

Virginia migration invitation gets a boost from West Virginia Governor Justice

Judge’s ruling on ‘legislative immunity’ gives lawmakers get-out-of-jail card

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