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Legislative Update #5 (2/14/20)

WVEA's Legislative Update #5 Printable PDF

The pace of the Legislative Session is starting to pick up and a number of key pieces of legislation are beginning to move. Stay informed and regularly contact your legislators on the issues.

PEIA bill defeated in committee

The House Banking and Insurance Committee met on Monday with HB 4043 on their agenda. The purpose of this bill was to prevent state, county or municipal agencies from covering any portion of PEIA premiums for a non-employee spouse.According to the Com. Sub. version of the bill taken up by the committee, a spouse could remain on PEIA as long as the employee paid the full amount of the premium. An amendment was passed that allowed the spouse’s premium to continue to be paid if they are not offered insurance through their employer.WVEA President Dale Lee and our lobbyists worked to make sure delegates knew how harmful this bill would be and encouraged delegates to vote against it. After hours of debate the bill was ultimately rejected by a vote of 11-11 with members absent.Republican Delegate Barnhart from Pleasants County joined the committee’s Democrats (Barrett, Bates, N. Brown, Estep-Burton, Hartman, Lovejoy, Robinson, Rowe, Sponaugle and Williams) in killing the bill.Please thank the 11 delegates that voted ‘no’ on HB 4043 and supported public employees.

Senators looking to draw support for Inventory Tax reduction

The Senate originally introduced two resolutions – SJR 8 and SJR 9. Both resolutions are proposed amendments to the State Constitution. In order to pass, they will require a 2/3 vote in both the House and Senate; the governor’s signature; and the approval of the voters in a statewide election.SJR 8 currently calls for the tax on all new equipment purchased after July 2021 to go untaxed. Current taxable inventory would be gradually reduced and eliminated completely after 4 years. Simply reducing the manufacturing tax and creating a $100 million loss of revenue to county governments and schools is proving a difficult sell to legislators and the public.The Senate has started moving SJR 9 that deals with lowering personal property taxes. Personal property taxes account for over $380 million for county schools through the counties’ regular and excess levies. Clearly, this amendment will also greatly impact local county governments, police departments, ambulance services, library services, etc., by taking away revenue.Speculation is that SJR 8 will be amended into SJR 9 and it will then lower both manufacturing inventory and personal property taxes. Of course, this is an effort to garner support for the inventory tax by also lowering taxes for citizens in an attempt to try and force legislators to vote for it during an election year.The current rumor circulating around the Capitol has a Resolution moving forward that will do the following: