Armstead said GOP delegates would also propose amending the constitution to roll back taxes on such non-real estate property as business inventory and equipment. Though frequently targeted by business, attempts to loosen the constitution's rigid control of these taxes have failed. As property taxes provide revenues to counties and their schools, replacing those dollars has been a key sticking point.
House Republicans plan to offer offsetting a rollback with tax revenues from the renewed drilling of underground shale deposits like the Marcellus for natural gas. But Kessler has already proposed depositing and then investing those severance tax proceeds for 20 years. The concept of such a "future fund'' has gained ground among some lawmakers, and several of the candidates who won on Tuesday.
"I would be more inclined to pursue a future fund,'' Kessler said.
Kessler is similarly skeptical of House Republicans' plan to revisit the way the state funds its road needs, in part by including them in the general revenue budget. West Virginia now operates the State Road Fund, a separate section of the annual spending plan, to address those needs.
"We need a permanent, more dedicated funding source rather than just general revenue,'' Kessler said. "We're willing to explore anything, but at the end of the day you need a certain amount of money to maintain the services that people depend upon.''
The GOP's House gains should also revive discussion of whether the state should assess whether legislation, from tax breaks meant to spur the economy to regulations overseeing workplaces and business practices, influence hiring or development. With Tomblin and Senate Democrats also talking about making West Virginia more business friendly, Armstead said Republican delegates will push to require regular reviews of regulations and including a jobs impact statement with bills.
"When regulations are passed, you should look back and see whether they're meeting the goal intended or are instead hurting'' the economy, Armstead said. "They shouldn't just be placed on the books and be left there forever.''