Speaker of the House: ‘No idea’ why Amendment 2 is controversial

In the tax reform battle between the West Virginia governor and the Senate speaker, the Speaker of the House of Delegates has remained largely silent. So far.

The 58th Speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates, Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, supports passing Amendment 2. He said the constitutional provision is outdated and needs to be revised.

“The provision of our state constitution, which is at issue in Amendment 2, comes from the antebellum Civil War era in Virginia. We don’t do anything today the way we did in 1863, so we shouldn’t necessarily have the same tax structure we had in 1863,” Hanshaw said. “The purpose of Amendment 2 is simply to give the elected representatives of the people the opportunity to discuss what the appropriate tax structure for this state should be. I don’t know why it’s controversial.

Hanshaw said he sees the state on a path of fairly substantial sustained budget surpluses for at least the next three to five years. He said it was worth looking at the House Finance Committee’s hybrid plan to phase in income, vehicle, business and inventory tax cuts.

“You take the proposal that would, eventually, eliminate the business, equipment, inventory, and property tax on automobiles, as well as the income tax cut proposed by the governor, and spread it out. over a period of years, which is actually the way most states that are doing it successfully have done it,” Hanshaw said. “The plan that is currently under study works mathematically. The one place we really want to be sure we’re careful and have thought through the circumstances is – how much do we rely on our starting natural resource taxes? »

Hanshaw said he was puzzled by comments about losses to the county school and emergency services amid a Charleston power grab. He said most lawmakers live far from Charleston and need the same services for their families.

“We all want water to come out of our taps and firefighters to come to our house in an emergency. We have to be responsible enough to know that,” Hanshaw said. “If the legislator wanted to make life difficult for counties and municipalities, there is ample room and opportunity to do so. The Legislature has a lot of taxing power and has the ability to push any number of warrants, well thought out or not, on the counties. And we don’t because we live here too, so that argument is a bit misplaced, in my opinion.

Hanshaw said he was frustrated with communication gaps between government leaders. He said three personal profiles show a “discrepancy in philosophy”.

“I am a lawyer by profession, [Senate] President Blair is a contractor by trade, master plumber and electrician, and Governor Justice is a businessman by trade. So your approach to government service is largely shaped by how you’ve shaped your life and those other roles,” Hanshaw said. “The practice of law is a communication business, it is about communicating your ideas or the position of your clients. So it’s still pretty easy for me. Others who are in a position to have unilateral decision-making power in their business and are able to make things happen simply by decreeing them, they approach government service differently.

Hanshaw said the only job of the legislature is to be a civil, deliberative body.

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