Economic Freedom

Cardinal believes the record of history is quite clear: widespread prosperity occurs when individuals are given the freedom to to be the author of their own stories: to start a business, to create jobs, and to build a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities. We believe this manifests in public policy through low taxes, low barriers to entry, minimal regulation, limited government, and a belief that the first rung on the economic ladder should be within reach for all people.


Creating a tax system that is fair and promotes growth is crucial for unlocking the economic potential of West Virginia. By reworking the tax structure, we can encourage investment and entrepreneurship while offering relief to families across the state. Some of the policies we have researched include:

  • Eliminating Personal Income Tax: Eliminating or reducing personal income tax would boost the economy by leaving more money in the pockets of West Virginians.
  • Removing the Marriage Penalty: By removing tax penalties for married couples, we encourage and support the foundation of family life, aligning our tax code with our values.
  • Broadening the Sales Tax Base and Lowering the Rate: Moving toward a consumption-based tax system can lead to a fairer and more efficient tax structure. It can also encourage spending, which in turn drives economic activity.
  • Adjusting Inflation Brackets: Tax brackets should be adjusted regularly for inflation. This prevents taxes from increasing without people realizing it, making the process fair.
  • Eliminating the Business Inventory Tax: By eliminating this tax, we send a clear message to entrepreneurs and investors that West Virginia is open for business. This will boost economic growth and create jobs.
  • Opposing Tax Credits and Gimmicks: A fair economy relies on a simple and transparent tax code. Success should be determined by innovation and effort, not by the government picking winners and losers.

Fiscal Restraint

Responsible fiscal practices are essential to creating a stable and predictable financial environment for West Virginia’s people and businesses. This involves adopting principles of fiscal restraint, which can help maintain sustainable economic health. By prioritizing these principles, we can work together to ensure a prosperous future for the state and its residents.

  • Government Spending Tied to Population Change and Inflation: By following this, we can ensure that the government’s growth always aligns with the state’s needs. This approach helps us avoid overexpansion and waste, ensuring our tax dollars are used most effectively.
  • Removal of Severance Tax Collections from the General Revenue Budget: State finances can be unpredictable due to fluctuating resource prices. Shielding the budget from these market fluctuations is important to ensure stable and predictable funding. This approach will help maintain financial stability and prevent disruptions in funding for essential services.
  • Opposition to Economic Development Subsidies/Incentives: Creating a level playing field is essential for genuine economic development. Providing selective advantages distorts the market and plays favorites.

Size & Scope of Government

West Virginia can serve its citizens better by streamlining its government. This means focusing only on the essential functions of government, which will reduce bureaucratic overhead and increase efficiency. By doing so, we can enhance the delivery of services to citizens.

  • Reduction of the Number of Public Employees: Aligning the size of the public workforce with the state’s needs ensures efficiency and reduces the tax burden on citizens.
  • Optimization of Office Space Footprint and Occupancy Rates: Efficient use of space reduces costs and reflects a government that is adaptable and responsive to modern work environments.
  • Rationalization of Boards and Commissions: Streamlining or eliminating unnecessary bureaucratic entities can enhance government efficiency and reduce regulatory burdens.

Encouraging Innovation and Flexibility

Encouraging innovation is vital for West Virginia’s economic growth. A regulatory environment that supports creativity and flexibility can attract new industries and help existing ones expand. By fostering an environment that promotes innovation, West Virginia can drive economic growth and create new opportunities for its residents.

  • Certificate of Need Reform: Eliminating these regulations can dramatically improve access to healthcare services and encourage competition.
  • Support for Home-Based Businesses: Reducing regulatory hurdles for home-based businesses unleashes entrepreneurial spirit and supports economic diversification.
  • Addressing Benefit Cliffs: Reforming assistance programs to eliminate disincentives to work encourages participation in the labor force and supports upward mobility.
  • Promoting Regulatory Sandboxes: These initiatives allow for testing innovative business models and technologies in a real-world environment, fostering innovation, and attracting cutting-edge industries to West Virginia.

West Virginia stands on the brink of a new era in which economic freedom can transform the state’s challenges into opportunities for growth, innovation, and prosperity. By championing these principles, we can honor West Virginia’s rich history while forging a path to a brighter, more prosperous future. Together, we can ensure that the Mountain State thrives in the 21st century, offering opportunity and prosperity to all its residents.

Learn more about how these policy changes can positively impact your life in West Virginia. Explore our detailed resources to understand the real-life implications of these policies and how they can enhance your day-to-day living.

Check out some of our Economic Freedom articles:

Check out some of our latest research:


The Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy works alongside Mountaineers to build a West Virginia Miracle founded on economic freedom, education freedom, worker freedom, and a culture of freedom enshrined in the state motto: Mountaineers are Always Free.

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