Take Tax Cuts for the Wealthy at the Expense of Working West Virginians Off the Table

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As the governor and legislature continue to finalize their tax plan over the next several days, please reach out to your representatives to ask them to take tax cuts for the wealthy off the table and instead support the “Simple Plan” which prevents a government shutdown and protects the vital services West Virginians rely on everyday.

Giving huge tax breaks to the top 1 percent at the expense of working West Virginia families could be devastating for our state. It will leave less money for our state’s schools, colleges, public safety, and health care services and bake in future budget cuts.  

It is time the legislature put West Virginia communities before special interest tax breaks for the wealthy and adopt the Simple Plan that would balance the budget, share the load, and protect our families.

Tax cuts for the wealthy won't solve West Virginia's budget problems, create new jobs, or help us build shared prosperity. Instead, we need a budget plan that doesn't kick the can down the road and puts people and communities first.

The budget framework below represents a simple way to get out of this mess. It includes just 4 steps:

1. Increase the sales tax from 6% to 6.5%

2. Do what other states have done and close sales tax loopholes by expanding the sales tax to industries that have been exempt (telecommunications, digital downloads, personal services, electronic data processing, personalized health fitness, contracting services, technical evaluations).

3. Institute a fair share tax on income over $200,000.

4. Institute a refundable Earned Income Tax Credit for working families - to make sure this plan doesn’t hit working families harder than higher income earners.

This plan would generate roughly $270 million in revenue, on par with the targets set by other plans.  Here are 10 benefits of the simple, balanced budget plan:

1. No cuts to K-12 education.

2. No tax cuts for the rich.

3. Fewer tax increases on working families, then the latest "compromise" plan.

4. No cuts to the Promise scholarship, and no new cuts to Higher Ed.

5. No cuts to public broadcasting, the Women's Commission, or the arts.

6. No government shutdown.

7. No big new deficit in 2019.

8. No complicated triggers.

9. No food tax increase or other complicated tax increases.

10. No cuts to hospitals and health care.

To be clear, this budget framework is not perfect.  It's pragmatic.  When we talked with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, these were the priorities they listed.  Like any good compromise, everyone will find something not to like in it -- including our own organizations and partners.  We call it a framework, because some of the details could be tweaked (for instance, we'd be happy to see a sugar-sweetened beverage tax in exchange for a lower sales tax) and you would still get the same 10 core benefits.

Please click the link to the right to ask your lawmakers to sign-on to the Simple Plan.

Please encourage lawmakers to sign on to the Simple Plan.  They can contact Ted Boettner (tboettner@wvpolicy.org) or Stephen Smith (stephen@ourfuturewv.org) to add their names.

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