THE ROWAN REPORT: Income tax elimination will hurt Mom and Pop

Del. Ruth Rowan
Del. Ruth Rowan

With three weeks left in this legislative session there is still much work to do. The most pressing issue is Governor Justice’s proposal to eliminate the personal income tax. 

I have received more emails and phone calls on this issue than on any other this year. Most of these communications have been owners of small mom and pop-type businesses that have been struggling with the impact of COVID 19.  The addition of more taxes on products they sale would drive many consumers to cross the borders into Virginia and Maryland to make their purchases. 

The Governor’s Tax Reform Bill, HB2027, would also impose a sales tax on professional services. Only a few states in the country have this type of tax.  I have yet to talk to one member in the House of Delegates that approves of this bill.  In the coming week there are plans to originate an Alternative Personal Income Tax Reduction Plan starting in the House Finance Committee.  As a member of that committee I have already been told by Chairman Eric Householder that we will be meeting every day next week.

          One of the bills that will be up for a vote this week is HB2368. This bill known as “Mylissa Smith’s Law” would give patients access to family members, clergy, and hospice in a time when there are restrictions during a pandemic.  Mylissa Smith was a hospice nurse in Kanawha County who loved taking care of those who were nearing the end of life.  That is how she contracted COVID. She lingered for nearly a month before she lost her fight….. alone! 

Her life was dedicated to giving comfort to those who were slipping away from this life. Yet no one was allowed to be with her as she slowly passed away. This bill will give comfort to many families that are confronted with losing someone they love during times of pandemic.

           The last day of session is April 10.  I will be in Charleston until April 17.  You can reach me at:  Phone:  304-340-3157, email:  ruth.rowan@wvhouse.gov