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Op-ed: A generational opportunity for West Virginia

West Virginia is the only state in the Union that witnessed an actual population decline over the past 70 years. That’s two generations of West Virginians who have left the Mountain State in hopes of finding greener pastures elsewhere. It’s time to bring them back, while also welcoming new residents to the state.

Eliminating the state’s income tax may very well be the first — and most important — step in doing that.

Given the promise of tomorrow, now is the time for West Virginia lawmakers to enact sound tax policy that reduces our state income tax, reduces our state’s cost burden, and more equitably raises revenue.

First, we must get on a path to completely and permanently repeal the personal income tax in a way that doesn’t just shift the tax burden down the economic ladder, by raising taxes on grocery items like non-alcoholic beverages.

Second, elected officials must make the tough decisions to immediately trim and, ultimately, slow the growth of state spending. By trimming just $50 million a year, we can save $600 million over the next 12 years — helping us to fully repeal the state income tax.

And finally, taxes should be restructured to be more broadly and fairly applied, allowing West Virginians to keep more of their own money and allow our economy to thrive.

West Virginia is a great place to live, work, explore, and raise a family. Those who live in the state already know it. With remote work over the past year, more people temporarily experienced it. By reducing or eliminating the state’s income tax in a sound manner, we can expand economic opportunity for families who already call West Virginia home and for those who are looking to move here.

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Del. Eric Householder is a Republican member of the West Virginia House of Delegates where he presides as the chairman of the Finance Committee.

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