WV Tax Incentives: Business Boon or Bust for County Coffers

Charleston Gazette - At least 13 companies in West Virginia pay reduced or possibly no property taxes because of a program in which the West Virginia Economic Development Authority purchases property and leases the land, buildings or equipment back to the businesses. Read

According to accounting records, the EDA owns more than $103 million in property and equipment that it leases to companies throughout the state, in counties like Harrison, Berkeley, Mercer, Ohio and Kanawha.

The setup allows companies to use equipment and facilities, while the EDA's tax-exempt status ensures the properties avoid tax levies by cities, school boards, county commissions and the state government.

Using a calculation based on the average Class III property tax rate in the state — a conservative estimation — the leasing program could be shielding the businesses from about $1.3 million in local and state tax revenue annually.

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