House Finance Chair Eric Nelson during a floor session.
House Finance Chair Eric Nelson during a floor session.

Yet another plan to restructure taxes in West Virginia has been taken up by members of the House of Delegates.

The House Finance Committee was presented with their version of a Senate Bill 484 during a Saturday afternoon meeting.

The bill was initially presented to lawmakers by Gov. Jim Justice as a sweeping tax increase, raising some $450 million in new revenues.

As it passed out of the Senate, though, the measure only included recapturing some $12 million in annual sales tax revenue generated from some road construction purchases. Those funds are typically transferred to the state Road Fund, but the Senate’s bill would keep them in general revenue for legislative appropriation.

On Saturday, the House Finance Committee was presented with a new version of the bill that goes above and beyond that measure, and essentially refutes the economic theory behind previous tax reform measures considered in the Senate.

The new House version of Senate Bill 484 is a “broadening the base” measure, according to House Finance Chair Eric Nelson. It still contains the capture of state Road Fund dollars, but also gets rid of several exemptions in the consumer sales tax in two phases.

The House Finance Committee during a February meeting.

On July 1 of this year, salon services, contracting services, and cell phone bills would be subject to the sales tax. The exemptions for gym memberships, electronic data services, primary opinion research, and some direct use services would end on October 1.

On July 1, 2018, the bill would reduce the states 6 percent sales tax to 5.5 percent. It would again reduce to 5 percent on July 1, 2019, and 4.75 percent on July 1, 2020.

Unlike previous tax reform measures considered in both…