Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Senate Dems Lie and Deceive: Introduce Income Tax Cut to Generate Favorable Headlines, Have No Intent of Actually Enacting It

In the face of growing cries for tax relief from overtaxed West Virginians, 18 Democratic state senators--including Senate Finance Committee Chairman Walt Helmick, D-Pocahontas--and Senator Karen Facemeyer, R-Jackson, introduced yesterday SB 674, dramatically raising the state income tax exemption for every taxpayer to $25,000 for a married couple and $12,500 for singles.

Given West Virginia's status as one of a handful of states that levies its state income tax upon people below the poverty level, one would think this bill is welcome news. In fact it is not: it is a bag of lies and deceit intended only to fool the constituents of these senators into believing their senators now support tax relief. Even though the Finance Committee chairman is a cosponsor, I predict this bill will not be acted upon.

For years, as part of an overall strategy of reducing West Virginia's excessive tax burden (we rank 3rd in state taxes per dollar of per capita income), Republican legislators have proposed both raising the personal exemption (now $2,000 times the number of exemptions one claims on his or her federal tax return) and the $10,000 low earned income exclusion. We have proposed eliminating the food tax, eliminating the business franchise tax, reducing personal income tax rates, reducing the corporate income tax rate, and many others.

Just as they have no intent of passing any of the joint resolutions proposing a constitutional amendment protecting the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman, members of the Ruling Party have no intent to pass their own bill that would seem to satisfy a desire for which the people have been clamoring. Whether it's protecting marriage, reducing taxes, protecting private property rights, protecting children from sexual predators, or virtually any other important priority of the people of West Virginia, the Ruling Party has grown so arrogant in its 80 years of power that they feel immune from any need to represent their constituents.

This November, West Virginians will have the chance to elect a new majority to the Legislature that represents our values and our concerns. We will reduce the excessive tax burden that hampers working families and keeps businesses from locating in West Virginia. We will defend the basic institutions of society and protect from the assault of activist judges the traditional definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman that has prevailed for 6,000 years. We will enact tough, mandatory prison sentences for pedophiles who prey upon young children.

On November 8, 2006, it will be morning again in West Virginia.