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SB Wednesday: new legislation that could impact small businesses in West Virginia

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BLUEFIELD, W.Va (WVVA) - WVVA is helping to answer viewers' questions about small business and personal finance. Joining us every Wednesday is John O'Neal, the Executive Director of the Development Authority of Mercer County.

WVVA: Today we continue our series for Small Business Wednesday on the bills in the West Virginia Legislature that will most impact Small Business and workers in our state. John, where do we stand with the legislative calendar?

O'Neal: March 31 is Day 50 of the 60 Day Legislative session. Day 50 is also known as Crossover Day at the Capitol. It is considered the last possible day to get a bill out of its originating body, either Senate or House, and still have time to complete the legislative process. So today is usually a marathon session, with our representatives working long hours to get bills that they care about out of at least one chamber.

WVVA: what is the status of Governor Justice's bill to eliminate the state personal income tax in West Virginia?

O'Neal: arguably the most watched bill in the session this year is the Governor's proposal to eliminate the state personal income tax. Supporters believe that this action will lead to jobs and population growth in the Mountain State.

The Governor's plan would provide immediate reductions in the tax, and eliminate it completely in three years. His plan also provides for a number of tax increases to replace the lost revenue. The Governor's bill was sidelined in the House Finance Committee, which passed its own version to eliminate the personal income tax.

The House of Delegates passed this version of the bill, which eliminates the income tax over a much longer period, based on using revenue from growth rather than tax increases. That bill is now in the Senate, where it is expected to be amended. This issue is far from settled. We will watch this one closely, and report back in the next few weeks.

WVVA: what other bills affecting small business are still alive at this point?

O'Neal: There are many bills making their way through the process that would impact small business and workers in our state this session. Among the most significant that we are monitoring are COVID 19 Business Immunity from Liability, Broadband Enhancement and Support, Establishing an Intermediate Court of Appeals, and Expansion of School Choice Options.

These bills and many others are still alive. We will review the issues and the status of these bills, and report back to the viewers each week while the legislature remains in session.

WVVA: Please join us the next few weeks as Small Business Wednesday examines the new legislation that will impact small business and workers in our state.

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Melinda Zosh

Evening Anchor and Producer

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