Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Senate GOP Calls Bailey's Bluff

Last week, Senate Majority Whip Billy Wayne Bailey, D-Wyoming, introduced SB 674, dramatically increasing the personal exemptions from the state income tax. Bailey was joined by 17 of the other 20 Democratic senators and Senator Karen Facemeyer, R-Jackson. The other Republican senators knew Bailey was not serious.

Bailey said he wanted to increase the personal exemptions from the state income tax rather than abolish the food tax because the income tax cut would help the working poor more. All state income taxpayers would have benefited from SB 674, as the proposed exclusions of $25,000 for a married couple or $12,500 for a single person would be subtracted from every taxpayer's adjusted gross income regardless of their total income.

However, sensing that Bailey had no real intention of actually passing this bill, Republican senators called Bailey's bluff. A motion to discharge the bill from committee was defeated in a nonrecorded vote in which all Democrats and 3 Republicans opposed discharging the bill from the Senate Finance Committee--whose Chairman, Senator Walt Helmick, D-Pocahontas, was one of the bill's cosponsors.

The West Virginia Legislature sure seems to work in very strange ways. In how many other legislative chambers do a majority of the members of a chamber cosponsor a bill and then vote against it and say they really didn't mean to act on the bill at all and just wanted to make some people think they wanted to achieve the objective of the sham bill?