CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. (WDVM) — This is the first full week of the West Virginia legislature’s 2021 session, and eliminating the personal income tax is front and center on the agenda of Senators and Delegates.
The Republican super-majorities in both houses say eliminating the tax would attract more residents and make West Virginia competitive with other states to attract new business, but critics say the only way to make up that lost revenue is to raise the sales tax. They say that such a raise will only drive Mountain State consumers across state lines where the sales tax is either lower or isn’t even on the books.
In the eastern panhandle, Danny Lutz opposes the income tax elimination.
“A two and a half or three percent retail sales tax on food would drive people like me to Maryland because they don’t tax food at all,” said Lutz. “There are 29 West Virginia counties that border on states that have either no food tax or a smaller food tax than we have.”
Berkeley and Jefferson counties in the eastern panhandle are among West Virginia’s most populous counties near states with no sales tax on groceries.