CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Leadership of the House of Delegates and state Senate today announced a bold 2019 legislative agenda that features substantial tax reforms, broadband expansion efforts and innovative proposals to create jobs by opening new doors to help people enter or re-enter the workforce.
House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, and Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, unveiled the agenda during a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the state Capitol.
“We have seen a momentous turnaround in our state since Republicans took control in Charleston, and we firmly believe the best is still yet to come,” President Carmichael said. “We plan this year to build on the largest public employee pay raise in state history, provide substantial tax relief to our job creators and seniors, and help provide new educational and workforce training options for our citizens.”
“The theme of this legislative session is to make West Virginia the best place to live, work and raise a family,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “Everything we do will be with this goal in mind. Whether it’s by helping job creators start businesses and attract capital, expanding broadband to open up new opportunities for our education system and markets for our entrepreneurs, we want to help make West Virginia the most attractive place to be for not just our citizens and businesses, but those who might consider moving here in the future.”
Specific agenda priorities include:
- Enact Significant Tax Reforms, including:
- Elimination of the Personal Income Tax on Social Security Income
- Begin the Process of Eliminating the Property Tax on Business Equipment and Inventory
- Improve the Homestead Exemption
- Continue Improving Compensation and Benefits for Teachers, Service Personnel and State Workers – Including Enhanced Compensation for Teachers in High-Demand Fields, like Math and Science
- Promote Broadband Expansion and Investment
- Expand Access to Community College, Technical Schools and Workforce Training Opportunities
- Help Recruit Business Start-Up and Investment Capital
- Improve the Second Chance for Employment Act
- Divert More Funds to Secondary and Tertiary Road Repairs
- Reform Foster Care and Adoption Programs
- Create Education Savings Accounts for Special Needs Students
“We’ve made tremendous strides in the past few years to improve the economy, education and legal systems and overall way of life for all West Virginians, and in this session, we will take those improvements to a whole new level,” President Carmichael said.
“My goal is that when we look back at the 2019 session, we will see it as a watershed year toward launching West Virginia to a higher level of prosperity,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “We turned the corner over the last few years, and now it’s time to reach to new heights.”
The 2019 legislative session begins Jan. 9 at noon.