Last week’s special session of the West Virginia legislature proved to be anything but special.
Governor Jim Justice called on July 20 for the Legislature to meet to consider his proposal to cut state income tax by 10 percent. This is the third time this year that justice has tried to obtain a tax reduction.
“I have been the biggest supporter of completely eliminating our personal income tax. This will drive job growth, population growth and prosperity in West Virginia,” the billionaire governor said in a statement. “Once we get the ball rolling, we can continue to reduce our personal income tax until it’s completely eliminated.”
It certainly seems like a bill that is near and dear to the governor’s heart, something he is looking forward to accomplishing. Which makes it all the more confusing how much effort he put into tanking him effectively.
Last Monday, before the session began, Justice amended the agenda and announced that he would like to see lawmakers “clarify and modernize the abortion laws that currently exist under the West Virginia Code. , in order to ensure a coherent and comprehensive framework governing abortions”. and auxiliary family services and support for pregnant women to provide the citizens of this state with more certainty in the application of these laws.
The announcement stopped nearly everyone involved in their tracks. This almost guaranteed that the tax cut would end up on the back burner, but was nonetheless an effort to appease Republican lawmakers who wanted to ban abortion.
The legislature convened for a week of fruitless debate, which ostensibly focused on a tax cut, but ended up being an airing of the two bodies’ views on the subject of abortion – sparking controversy. protests inside and outside the Capitol.
Democrats and moderate Republicans and more conservative Republicans in the Senate talked about amendments to the bill that the House had passed, but ultimately voted 21 to 10 for it. However, when he returned to the House, they balked, letting the clock run out on Friday.
Senate Speaker Craig Blair said the Senate is not interested in the Justice Department’s income tax cut and would instead pursue tax cuts on personal property and inventory. businesses.
The lack of action in last week’s session reminds us of a line from Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ – ‘full of sound and fury, meaning nothing’.
However, something happened last week. Taxpayers’ money was wasted.
The Senate Clerk’s Office estimates that it costs about $35,000 a day during a special session. The per diem for a member of the Senate is $131 per day, if they stick around.
That’s a $175,000 tab of taxpayers’ money that justice has hoarded to accomplish nothing.