Bluefield Daily Telegraph. March 15, 2023.
Editroial: Tax relief: New law makes West Virginia more attractive
Tax relief is finally on the way for residents of the Mountain State.
After some back and forth wrangling between the House and the Senate, and Gov. Jim Justice, the Republican super majority in Charleston has finally signed off on a measure that returns more than $750 million to state residents, including a reduction in the personal income tax.
Justice, also a Republican, signed the tax-relief bill into law last week.
The House of Delegates passed a 21.25% income tax reduction bill.
That was higher than a 15% cut approved by the state Senate and lower than the 50% reduction Justice proposed over a three year period.
Under the new law, more income tax cuts would be triggered by a formula involving higher than anticipated revenue collections starting next fiscal year. But any further tax reductions cannot be larger than 10% , according to the Associated Press.
In addition, lawmakers passed a credit on personal property taxes that residents pay annually on vehicles at a cost of $157 million to the state.
Small businesses also will get a tax break and disabled veterans will receive property tax credits.
The amount being returned to residents is more than two-thirds of the state’s record budget surplus of $1.1 billion. Justice is touting the legislation as the largest tax cut in state history.
“We invite any and everyone to this great state to bring their business opportunities to us, to bring their jobs to us, to bring their folks to us,” Justice said.
Promoting the new tax relief law is a smart move by Justice.
The tax cuts certainly should help when it comes to attracting new businesses and residents to West Virginia.
In tough economic times, with raging inflation and soaring utility bills, people need all the help they can get.
A state that provides tax relief to its citizens will be viewed by many as an attractive place to live, play and raise a family.
Furthermore prospective businesses and industries will now likely give the Mountain State another look when it comes to potential expansion or relocation projects.
The new tax relief law is a win-win for West Virginia and its citizens.
The Intelligencer. March 14, 2023.
Editorial: Time for W.Va. To Get Moving
Few West Virginians are unaware that sedentary lifestyles can contribute to all kinds of health problems — heart disease, diabetes, obesity and joint pain, to name some. But being informed and doing something about it are two different things. In fact, a recent look at the percentage of adults who have reported doing no physical activity or exercise other than their regular jobs in the past 30 days places West Virginia tied with Kentucky for fourth worst in the nation.
America’s Health Rankings Public Health Impact report shows 30.5% percent of Mountain State residents report no exercise or physical activity over 30 days. (Ohio is 10th, with 26.5%).
Colorado, on the other hand, is head of the class, with only 16.7% of residents not getting exercise or physical activity outside their daily jobs.
What do they have that we don’t have? Sure, the mountains are a little taller, but so what. We’re not talking about hiking to the top of Pikes Peak every day, here. There are exercise classes at senior centers and churches. We’ve got plenty of outdoor options.
In our region, we have walking trails along the Ohio River. We have trails at Oglebay Park, and exercise options at Wheeling Park. There’s a paved walking trail in St. Clairsville. There are numerous gyms and wellness centers.
Our communities offer other activities, such as the annual Ogden Newspapers Wellness Weekend sponsored by WVU Medicine, which includes the Ogden Half Marathon Classic and the Tough as Nails Urban Challenge presented by The Health Plan, that can give a person fitness goals and a reason to get started. But making those opportunities available does not mean residents will take advantage of them.
No, folks, that part is up to you. All it takes is a choice.
Once you make it, there are wild and wonderful workout opportunities everywhere. Get moving!
Parkersburg News and Sentinel. March 14, 2023.
Editorial: Smart Move: Child marriage bill worth saving
West Virginia lawmakers are to be commended for overcoming the bizarre vote of the state Senate Judiciary Committee last week that rejected a child marriage ban. Though the 17-member Judiciary Committee may have believed they had stopped the measure, it was important enough to the rest of the members of the legislature that they found a way to revive it.
And so, on Saturday, the House of Delegates passed 83-9 — without debate — a measure that will ban marriages outright for anyone 15 or younger, require parental consent for those ages 16 or 17 who seek to marry, and require that even in those marriages the age gap must be no more than four years. The state Senate had easily endorsed the bill a day earlier.
Good for state Sen. Charles Trump, R-Morgan, who is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, for resurrecting the bill on the Senate floor Thursday and making sure it advanced, despite the committee’s attempt to kill it.
Though some opponents of the bill claimed child marriage is a way to “protect families,” according to the Associated Press, the reality is such marriages are often forced upon one person — and that person is disproportionately the girl. According to the Pew Research Center, of the 57,800 Americans aged 15-17 who were married in 2014, 55% were female. But West Virginia had the highest rate of child marriages among the states in 2014, at 7.1 per 1,000 people aged 15-17. And, according to state health statistics, between 2015 and 2019, there were 259 girls under age 18 married in West Virginia … and just 52 boys under 18.
It’s easy to understand why lawmakers felt compelled to also include an age gap maximum, in the law.
“This is a huge step to protecting our youngest children,” said Del. Kayla Young, D-Kanawha.
She’s right. And given the talk about protecting children and families by so many in our legislature this session, it is appalling the small group of those who voted against the bill in committee sought to stop it. Thank goodness the overwhelming majority in both bodies of the legislature spotted the attempt and did the right thing, anyway.
Leave a Reply