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West Virginia House passes Social Security tax phaseout

  • The Republican-led West Virginia House of Representatives voted Thursday in favor of a bill that would phase out state taxes on Social Security benefits.
  • If signed into law, the bill would retroactively reduce this year’s tax by 35%, next year’s tax by 65%, and be completely repealed in 2026.
  • The phaseout was a key topic that Republican Gov. Jim Justice stumbled upon in his final State of the Union address last month.

West Virginia’s Republican-led House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill that would reduce and gradually phase out state income taxes on Social Security benefits.

Repealing the tax is a key priority for Republican Gov. Jim Justice, who announced it as part of his annual budget proposal in his final State of the State address last month.

In 2019, the Legislature passed a bill that would reduce income taxes on Social Security benefits for the state’s lowest earners (those earning less than $100,000 jointly and $50,000 alone) over three years.

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The proposal, which passed Thursday and now goes to the Senate, would similarly eliminate taxes for everyone else over three years. This year, the tax will be reduced by 35% retroactively to January 1st, and the tax will be reduced by 65% ​​in 2025. The tax is scheduled to be phased out completely by 2026.

It is unclear what the Justice Department will think of the proposal. His version would eliminate the personal income tax on Social Security retroactively on January 1 of this year.

Seen here is the dome of the West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston, West Virginia. (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner, File)

Rep. Larry Kump, a Berkeley County Republican, spoke in support of the bill, noting that states surrounding West Virginia do not tax Social Security benefits.

“This issue of taxing Social Security, pensions, and retirement plans is really gear-grinding and legislatively heart-burning. I’ve been making fun of you, but I’m grateful that we were able to solve this problem.” We’re going to do some more on that. ”

Mr Kamp said he was also concerned about retired civil servants and how the rising cost of living was impacting their pensions. “But that’s another matter,” he said. “Let’s go ahead and pass this bill. It’s certainly better than poking us in the eye with a sharp stick. And let’s keep the light on for these people.”

The tax cuts are expected to cost about $37 million in 2025 and 2026 and affect more than 50,000 households.

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Last year, the Department of Justice included a 21.25% income tax cut in state law, returning more than $750 million to state residents amid a record $1.1 billion budget surplus. However, the West Virginia Budget and Policy Center said in a statement Thursday that Executive Director Kelly Allen said, “Continued efforts to erode and eliminate personal income taxes are undermining the needs of seniors, children, and families across the nation.” “Our ability to meet these demands is being undermined,” he said, calling for vigilance. state. “

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