Senate Takes Bold Step – Bye-Bye Social Security Taxes, Hello Pay Raises!

Senate Takes Bold Step – Bye-Bye Social Security Taxes, Hello Pay Raises!

In a momentous decision on the 60th day of the legislative session, the West Virginia Senate passed two pivotal bills that promise significant impacts on the state’s financial landscape. The first of these is a three-year plan to phase out Social Security income tax, building on a trend initiated in 2019.

Originally targeting the state’s lowest earners—those making less than $100,000 filing jointly and $50,000 for a single person—the new bill extends this initiative to eliminate the tax for all residents.

The reduction starts with an immediate 35% cut, retroactive to January 1, 2024, followed by a subsequent 65% reduction in 2025. The ultimate goal is the complete elimination of the Social Security income tax in 2026 and beyond.

Simultaneously, House Bill 4883 addresses the compensation of specific state employees whose pay scales are explicitly defined in the state code. Notably, state police personnel are set to receive a substantial boost with a $2,900 annual salary increase, acknowledging the critical role they play in maintaining public safety.

Public school educators, recognized as fundamental to the state’s education system, will also benefit. Teachers are slated for a $2,460 annual pay increase, while school service personnel will receive an additional $140 per month. These pay raises underscore a concerted effort to recognize and reward the dedication of those serving in crucial public service roles.

Senate Takes Bold Step – Bye-Bye Social Security Taxes, Hello Pay Raises!

House Bill 4883 goes beyond specific pay increases by empowering state agencies with spending authority. This provision enables state agencies to provide pay raises for all other state employees, contingent upon the availability of funds.

It’s important to note that the bill does not guarantee pay raises for these employees, leaving it to the discretion of individual state agencies to determine feasibility.

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These legislative measures are integral components of the 2025 general revenue budget, encapsulated in Senate Bill 200, which passed on the same night. This budget reflects a comprehensive approach to addressing the state’s fiscal priorities and aims to strike a balance between tax relief and public service enhancements.

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