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WV governor proposes exempting part of unemployment benefits

FILE - West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice speaks during the State of the State Address in the House Chambers of the West Virginia State Capitol Building in Charleston, W.Va., on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. Justice has agreed to live in the seat of state government in Charleston, ending a long-running challenge over his residency. A Kanawha County judge signed an order Monday, March 1, 2021, dismissing a 2018 lawsuit filed by a former state lawmaker. (AP Photo/Chris Jackson, file)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has proposed exempting the first $10,200 in unemployment benefits received in 2020 from the state income tax.

The Republican governor’s legislation before lawmakers would apply to nearly $1.36 billion in unemployment payments, according to his office. Over 197,000 people in West Virginia received some amount of unemployment aid in 2020.

“Some other states are requiring their people to pay taxes on the unemployment they received as a result of the pandemic,” Justice said. “We’re not going to do that in West Virginia. We need to stand rock solid with all of our fellow West Virginians who had to endure some really tough times over the past year.”