By Matthew Young, RealWV
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Jim Justice, on Monday, invited the public to his offices in Charleston for a town hall discussion regarding his current tax cut proposal. Joining Justice for the town hall was Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy, and, of course, Babydog.
Donning a facemask due to his recent COVID-19 diagnosis, Justice said he began experiencing symptoms two days after delivering his State of the State address. Making light of the situation, Justice said, “We were kinda jammed in for the State of the State – like you are now,” referring to the packed Reception Room where the town hall took place.
“So, good luck to you,” Justice added with a laugh. “But nevertheless, be a little careful because it’s still highly contagious stuff.”
After briefly addressing recent criticism directed towards him by the legislature regarding his tax cut proposal – as well as the DHHR (Department of Health and Human Resources) – Justice seemingly dismissed it, adding, “I mean, who cares?”
“Be really fair,” Justice continued. “Who cares? I can take that, I’m a great big boy. But the one thing I can’t take is hurting our people.”
“You’re (audience) here because of the ungodly amount of goodness that we’ve got going on across this state right now,” Justice noted. “And you are so responsible for it in so many ways. And I congratulate you upteen-million times. We haven’t even gotten to the meat and potatoes yet. There’s so much more good to come.”
Regarding his tax cut plan, Justice said, “We have an opportunity to really help our people.”
“This is a plan that does not have mud flaps or squirrel tails,” Justice said. “It just says, absolutely, we’re gonna cut your taxes by 50%.”
Under the governor’s plan, personal income tax (PIT) would be reduced by 30% in June of this year, followed by an additional 10% reduction each year for the next two years. On Thursday, the House of Delegates passed Justice’s tax proposal by a vote of 95 to 2. However, the Senate’s reception to the governor’s plan has been tepid at best, with Sen. Rupie Phillips, R-Logan, going so far as to refer to the plan as “phony math.”
Justice took a softer stance in his response, saying, “Don’t drift into bad thoughts. Let’s stay positive.”
“Everybody is trying as hard as they can for us to get there,” Justice continued. “But at the end of the day – and I always call the voters Toby and Edith – Toby and Edith are depending on us right now. Literally, you talk about something that will explode the growth in this state and bring people here, well God bless a milk cow, we gotta have workers!”
“What do you think this would do as an incentive package – putting $1 billion right back in your hands?” Justice asked. “What are you gonna do? Well, you’re gonna spend it!”
In conclusion, Justice said, “Let me tell you that there’s no question in my mind, no matter what any of you do, there’s nothing more important than this moment right now. There’s nothing that can compare to it. This moment is our moment to say, ‘By God, We’re West Virginia!’”
RealWV will provide updates as to the progress of the governor’s tax cut proposal as additional information becomes available.