Sen. Ron Miller, D-Greenbrier, has devised a plan to create revenue for the state. Miller has spent the last two weeks in Charleston during the Legislature’s special session, called to pass a 2016-17 budget, and says he has come up with a plan to fill the state’s $271 million budget gap.
Miller’s plan, which is not yet a bill, includes two of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s revenue measures: the 1 percent sales tax increase ($196 million) and the telecommunications tax ($60 million).
Also included in Miller’s plan are:
• reinstating the additional severance taxes to pay off Workers Compensation ($122.07 million)
• small business and middle-class tax cuts, while adding a new tax bracket at 8 percent for all income earned over $150,000 per year ($41.7 million). “This proposal would cut the tax rate for all money earned between $10,000 and $150,000 per year by .25 percent from current rates and create a new tiered system for the corporate net income tax at the same rates as the personal income tax, thereby cutting taxes for small businesses,” the plan says.
• introducing a state Earned Income Tax Credit, which he said will help working West Virginians. The credit would cost the state $52.9 million for a credit at 15 percent of the federal EITC and $70.5 million for a credit at 20 percent of the federal EITC.
“We have to do something to help working people if they’re going to pay higher taxes,” Miller said.
The current legislative budget has no revenue measures, relying instead on cuts to state funded departments and offices, and accessing about $140 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
Tomblin has promised to veto any budget that uses more than $100 million of the Rainy Day Fund.