House, Senate leaders give sneak peek at legislative priorities for 2020

By Steven Allen Adams, The Weirton Daily Times

January 5, 2020

CHARLESTON — Top legislative leaders told members of the media Friday what they plan to focus on during the 2020 legislative session starting this week.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, and House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, spoke at the West Virginia Press Association’s annual Legislative Lookahead, Friday, at the Cultural Center in Charleston.

Carmichael, who first became Senate president in 2017, said the state has come a long way since Republicans became the majority in the House and Senate in 2014, leading to a string of growth in the gross domestic product, the best personal income growth in the nation, unemployment levels that returned to pre-Great Recession levels, and surplus tax revenue last year.

“The change that is occurring in our state is invigorating,” Carmichael said. “It’s inspirational and it’s making a real difference in the lives and the outcomes of the people of this state. It feels great to be a part of that time and this resurgence of West Virginia.”

High on Carmichael’s wish list is passing a joint resolution to phase out the $100 million business and inventory tax by $25 million over four years. The resolution would require a two-thirds vote of both chambers, as a well as a vote by the people in a special election.

The tax helps fund county governments and school systems. Carmichael believes they can replace the lost revenue with money from the general revenue budget, as well as new revenue from new investment from business growth.