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Legislative LookAhead: West Virginia Legislature leaders agree on need for tax reform

By Steven Allen Adams, Special for The Journal of Martinsburg

CHARLESTON, W.Va. —  Leaders of the West Virginia Legislature agree on tax reform, though what that specific tax reform will look like is unclear.

Members of the West Virginia press heard from legislative leaders, interest groups and public policy experts during the annual West Virginia Press Association Legislative Lookahead Friday at the Culture Center in Charleston.

A main topic of discussion revolved around tax reform and what to do with the record-breaking tax revenue surplus that resulted in the state ending fiscal year 2022 in July with more than $1.3 billion in surplus and with the current fiscal year on track to break that record.As of the end of December, the state has already collected more than $833 million in surplus tax revenue for the general revenue fund with the first six months of fiscal year 2023 in the rear-view mirror.

House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, said West Virginia could see as much as $1.8 billion in excess tax revenue by the end of the fiscal year in June.

“There are things like making sure that the projected to now be 1.8 billion budget surplus that we anticipate having at the end of this fiscal year gets deployed responsibly and gets deployed in a transformative way,” Hanshaw said. “We have an obligation as members to be very good stewards of the people’s resources.”

“When there’s a pile of money out there, there’s a feeding frenzy,” said Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley. “I can tell you right now, the Senate is not going to allow a feeding frenzy to take place. The money’s not going to be spent willy-nilly anywhere.”

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