Public Chips in with Tax Reform Advice

More than 20 people representing non-profit organizations and business associations let state lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Tax Reform know their ideas for how the state's tax code should be amended. Read

But after listening to all the speakers, the committee's co-chairs are still in a quandary about which taxes should be overhauled. State revenues, particularly coal severance taxes, have slid during this fiscal year, creating an unforeseen budget gap and a gloomy forecast for next year's budget, as well.

Co-chair Delegate Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, said the Legislature will likely be looking for new revenue from professional services that are not already subject to sales tax such as legal and accounting services. Sen. Mike Hall, Nelson's co-chair, said that could create a problem since no other state except Hawaii taxes those services; Hall said he feared legal and accounting clients in border counties would seek those services outside the state.

The senator said he thinks continuing the 9 percent debt reduction tax on Workers' Compensation may be a starting point since businesses are already paying the fee, even though the debt is set to be paid off shortly.

"We're in kind of a bind here," Hall said. "One of the things that comes out is the difficulty in fixing the things the public wants."


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