Movin' On Up
Beckley Register-Herald - The news this week that the nonpartisan Tax Foundation has ranked West Virginia No. 21 in taxation burdens on citizens and business is a welcome improvement. Read
That of course is a big move upward in the rankings, at least for people who think the state's tax structure discourages businesses from relocating here or expanding their operations.
The foundation's survey is based on comparing tax structures state-by-state. The study looked at more than 100 tax variables involving property, individual income, corporate and sales tax, and unemployment insurance.
Many critics of the state's current tax structure have long called for tax reform.
In fact, current House minority leader Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, said tax reform is going to be one of the prime areas of focus for the new Republican majorities in the House of Delegates and the state Senate.
Armstead is odds-on choice to become the new House speaker come January, so we'll take his word for it.
Not everyone is convinced tax reform is a big burning issue for West Virginia.
Sean O'Leary, a policy analyst at the West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy, dismissed the Tax Foundation study, saying it failed to look at "real" issues like how taxation policy affects employment, how it places burdens on West Virginia businesses and individuals and job creation.
O'Leary said that when the state reduced the franchise tax and dropped the corporate income tax from 9 percent to 6.5 percent in recent years, business leaders hailed both as job creators. The reality, he said, was that West Virginia jobs were lost in all major sectors, except for the oil and gas industry.