FILE - Tax Form, Cash, Money, Handcuffs, Gavel

(The Center Square) – Republican leaders in the West Virginia Senate and House of Delegates are united on lowering personal property taxes, but efforts to scale back the income tax look unlikely after the Senate failed to bring the legislation up for a vote on the floor.

In November, West Virginia voters will consider a constitutional amendment that would allow the legislature to approve exemptions to personal property taxes on property used for business, such as machinery, equipment and inventory and to exempt personal motor vehicle property tax from ad valorem property taxes.

Rather than voting to approve the House-passed income tax reduction, Senate lawmakers unanimously voted for a resolution to express their intent to reduce the personal property tax burden if voters approve the amendment. This plan also has support from House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay.

"There is strong support in the West Virginia House of Delegates for a reduction in the income tax rates, and the proposal the governor gave us last week was quite similar to a bill overwhelmingly passed by this body during our most recent regular legislative session,” Hanshaw told The Center Square. “We still hope to see personal property taxes phased out, which our state Senate has been laser-focused on achieving, and we will continue discussing the best ways to do that with our colleagues in the Senate as well as the executive branch."

The income tax reduction would have lowered the overall income tax burden by 10%. The tax would not have been a flat tax, but rather it would have been tiered to ensure that low-income residents get a larger cut in taxes based on a percentage of what they currently pay. The plan, according to Gov. Jim Justice, would have incentivized businesses to come to the state and helped the average worker.

“I continue to believe with all in me that West Virginia can be like Florida, Texas, and Tennessee – with a booming economy and population, built on people moving into states with no personal income tax,” the governor said in a statement. “We have the best people, best natural resources, four of the best seasons, and are located within a rock’s throw of two-thirds of our country’s population. Without a personal income tax, our potential is limitless.”

This past special session was the second time this year that Justice and House Republicans sought to pass an income tax reduction. Both times, the Senate declined to even advance it out of committee. In the previous year, lawmakers in both chambers supported bills that would have lowered the income tax, but could not reach an agreement.

Staff Reporter

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and West Virginia for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.