Surprising Lawmakers, West Virginia's New Governor Pushes Tax Hikes
Gov. Jim Justice delivered his first State of the State address Wednesday, and his calls to raise numerous taxes to fill a $500 million budget hole and pay for government services has left Republican lawmakers critical of the state’s new leader.
Throughout his campaign, Justice would neither commit to raising taxes or cutting state spending. But more recently, Justice’s chief of staff, Nick Casey, suggested the governor’s office might seek $390 million to $606 million in cuts — something Republicans heavily supported.
Those plans were dashed during Justice’s lengthy speech, however, as he called for increases in the state’s sales tax, car registration fees, business taxes and the state’s gas tax.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, said he was “incredibly disappointed” in Justice’s policy reversal and support for a wide array of tax increases.