Legislative Action by the Numbers:
1121 bills introduced in the House of Delegates
642 bills introduced in the State Senate
65 bills have passed the House of Delegates
94 bills have passed the State Senate
21 bills have completed legislative action and await the Governor’s consideration (6 House, 15 Senate)
5 bills have been enacted in law with the Governor’s signature
My View from the Capitol
We are officially over the hump as today marks the 31st day of the Regular Legislative Session. The pace continues to be hectic and, while the Governor has lifted some of the COVID-19 restrictions, the State House continues to have restricted and limited access which has prompted 80+ House members to sign a petition requesting the Governor to “open” the State Capitol to the public.
Speaking of the Governor, his Personal Income Tax bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate. Click here for HB 2027. Click here for SB 600. Both bills are in the Finance committees. Some of the concerns with the Governor’s bill, as proposed, include:
- West Virginia will have the highest state consumer sales tax rate in the nation at 7.9 percent (or 8.9 percent for those counties with a one percent municipal sales tax). With 60 percent of West Virginia’s population living on the border, and border state sales taxes ranging from 5.3 to 6 percent, this legislation could encourage state residents to cross the border to make purchases, thus hurting existing state businesses.
- Businesses currently falling under the category of providing “professional services” (legal, accounting, advertising, and more), do not currently pay consumer sales taxes and will be required to do so. Only three states in the country tax professional services and the impact of this will lead West Virginia professional service firms to be less competitive and/or consider moving operations out of state. Additionally, this class will be negatively impacted in three ways: 1) new tax on professional services; 2) increase in the consumer sales tax; and 3) paying increased taxes on other goods targeted in the proposed plan.
- The severance of coal, gas and oil will be taxed in a tiered fashion equating to “if the market price goes up, they pay more, and if it goes down, they pay less.” Market pricing for these resources is complex and West Virginia already taxes them at some of the highest rates among market peers, potentially placing these industries in a less than competitive position. The oil and gas industry and the mining industry are reviewing to determine the impact on our already struggling coal and gas workforce.
- There would still be an estimated $150 million in needed cuts to existing budgets and or services to make up the estimated shortfall.
Stay tuned as the bill undoubtedly be the “hot topic” for the remainder of the session.
Legislative Calendar – Important Days to Remember
Thirty-fifth Day – March 16, 2021: Last day to introduce bills in the House. House Rule 91a does not apply to originating or supplementary appropriation bills, and does not apply to Senate or House resolutions or concurrent resolutions.
Forty-first Day – March 22, 2021: Last day to introduce bills in the Senate. Senate Rule 14 does not apply to originating or supplementary appropriation bills, and does not apply to Senate or House resolutions or concurrent resolutions.
Forty-seventh Day – March 28, 2021: Bills due out of committees in house of origin to ensure three full days for readings.
Fiftieth Day – March 31, 2021: Last day to consider bill on third reading in house of origin. Does not include budget or supplementary appropriation bills. (Joint Rule 5, paragraph b)
Sixtieth Day – April 10, 2021: Adjournment at Midnight. (WV Const. Art. VI, §22)
News From Around the State
Governor Goes Off on State Spending Restrictions Built into Latest Federal Relief Bill
Senate Passes Bill to Regulate Syringe Exchange Programs
Royalty Owners Raise New Concerns Over “Forced Pooling” Bills
Lawmakers Call for Capitol to be Opened Up to the Public
House Passes Bill Shielding Businesses from COVID-19 Legal Claims During Pandemic