By Phil Kabler, HD Media
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A day after the West Virginia House of Delegates passed its version of a bill to phase out personal income taxes in the state, the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday introduced an amendment to House Bill 3300 to make it a tax cut on steroids. The amendment cuts $1.09 billion in income taxes initially, and then phases out the entire $2.1 billion annual revenue source in as little as four years.
The Senate plan offsets the income tax cuts with $932 million a year in other tax hikes, including raising the state sales tax from 6% to 8.5%; reimposing the sales tax on food; and legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana — contingent on federal decriminalization of cannabis.
“When I was reading this bill, I was surprised, frankly. The majority of it is about cannabis,” Senate Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier, said of the Senate strike-and-insert amendment.
The proposal also eliminates several exemptions to sales taxes, including many for professional services. It increases cigarette taxes by $1 a pack and imposes a state hotel-motel tax of 4.3%…