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Why tax reform is vital for West Virginia’s prosperity

Feb 22, 2021 by AFP

For decades, West Virginia has seen more people leave our state than move here. We’re one of the few states to have lost population since the 1950s.

This trend is unsustainable from both the standpoint of state finances and economic opportunity. Without making West Virginia a more attractive place to live, work, and raise a family, we will continue to see reductions in our population and a lack of economic opportunity that will continue to hold West Virginians back from reaching their full potential.

This legislative session, West Virginia has the opportunity to enact comprehensive tax reform that will address some of the shortcomings that keep many of our state’s individuals, families, and businesses from thriving.

West Virginians, not state government, make the best decisions for themselves and their families. The top marginal personal income tax rate is 6.5 percent, higher than every state that borders ours. That is nearly double that of Pennsylvanians, who pay a flat rate of 3.07 percent on their income.

In 2016, 24 of the 25 highest taxed states saw more people leave their states than move to them. Likewise, the lowest taxed states, particularly those without income taxes such as Florida, saw more people migrate to their states than leave. This trend continues today.

During this year’s legislative session, West Virginia lawmakers can do something about the high taxes Mountaineers pay, reverse the trend of more people leaving the state than settling in, and pave the way toward prosperity for generations to come.

Thoughtfully phasing out the personal income tax is a major priority of AFP-West Virginia. Tax reform must be simple, fair, and address taxes and spending concurrently. Reducing tax rates while also reducing nonessential spending — cutting spending items that don’t represent a genuine priority or are not within the proper role of government — will help make West Virginia a more attractive state in which to live and do business.

Now is the time for fiscally responsible lawmakers to put more money back in the pockets of Mountaineers. They can set every West Virginian up for success by creating the conditions for a new, stronger West Virginia economy in which everyone has an unprecedented ability to reach their full potential.

Our legislators need to hear from you that it’s time to pass principled tax reform in West Virginia. Take action here and contact them today.