Capito: Tax Reform Has Helped West Virginia

WHEELING — U.S. Sen. Shelley Capito attributes an improving West Virginia economy to Trump tax reforms passed late last year.

Capito, R-W.Va., spoke Tuesday on the effects of the tax reforms while visiting Wheeling. Earlier in the day, she had taken part in a ceremony at the new Brooke County Middle School and toured Warwood Tool.

Capito referenced figures reported by Gov. Jim Justice last week indicating West Virginia ended the 2018 fiscal year with a surplus of $36 million. The data also showed the state set an all-time high for annual General Revenue Fund Collections with $4.245 billion. The previous record was $4.196 billion in fiscal year 2015.

“Seeing the results of the tax reform bill, seeing economic growth in West Virginia … employment down, wages going up — it’s all good, and hopefully will get better and better,” she said. “I am very encouraged by that, especially the effect it has had in West Virginia.”

Capito said she has been speaking with manufacturing companies throughout the state, where employees are reporting they see more money in their paychecks.

Companies also are investing in their infrastructure as tax reforms permitting them to depreciate their equipment make it easier to afford new machinery, according to Capito.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 also provides for the designation of “opportunity zones” to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide. And some of this money is being made available to the city of Wheeling to develop parts of South Wheeling along W.Va. 2 and Interstate 470, according to Capito.

Also expected to receive money through the Opportunity Zone program are Weirton and communities within Marshall, Wetzel and Tyler counties, she said.

The program provides a tax incentive for investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into funds to assist development in the designated areas.

Officials in these communities need to look at getting projects ready so when the money comes, it can be directed to West Virginia, she said.

“The regulatory environment has a lot to do with this as well,” she said. “The certainty and reasonableness of regulations the president has brought forward has brought a lot more stability, and a feeling to invest and spend.”

Capito planned to stop briefly at her home in Charleston before traveling back to Washington.

Among the first orders of business in the Senate will be a vote on the appointment of nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Capito said she has met with Kavanaugh twice, and plans to vote in favor of his appointment.

“He seems to be a principled person,” she said. “He has issued over 300 opinions, and is well thought of in the legal community. I am very positive on him.”

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