CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Delegate Pat McGeehan, R-Hancock, today announced he is sponsoring a resolution that would seek to amend the state Constitution to require that any future tax and fee increases be approved by a two-thirds majority in both houses of the Legislature before they can be made law.
“The people of West Virginia are taxed enough already, and we need to do everything we can to protect them from politicians in Charleston who want to take more of their hard-earned paychecks,” Delegate McGeehan said.
McGeehan said the resolution should be introduced later this week and is supported by House GOP leadership. If approved by a two-thirds majority of both houses, the amendment would be put out to voters for approval later this year.
McGeehan, a leader of the House of Delegates’ Liberty Caucus, said he was happy to hear Gov. Jim Justice say last week that he is not asking for any new taxes to balance the Fiscal Year 2019 budget. But McGeehan said that does not mean lawmakers should stop their fight against government spending growth and increased taxation.
“A key reason they aren’t asking for tax increases this year is the fact that we in the House have fought hard against unreasonable spending growth in the past few budgets,” McGeehan said. “Had we not made cuts and held the line on spending, we may have heard this year that they need more taxes to balance the budget.
“That’s why we need this amendment,” McGeehan said. “If future Legislatures aren’t going to have our same spending discipline, they may turn to the taxpayers for more money.”
Delegate McGeehan said the two-thirds approval resolution is part of a broader Taxpayer Bill of Rights he hopes to see passed this session. Another resolution he supports and hopes to see soon introduced would limit future government spending growth to a “fiscal growth factor,” a formula which would take into account growth in state population, GDP and inflation.
“We need to hold politicians accountable, and make sure they’re not growing government unnecessarily or failing to take the financial struggles of our constituents into account,” McGeehan said. “If we pass these amendments, we will make sure taxpayers are adequately protected from politicians who want to tax-and-spend this state into economic ruin.”