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W.Va. Chamber of Commerce endorses Justice tax proposal

The Herald-Dispatch

CHARLESTON – The president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce endorsed one of Gov. Jim Justice’s tax proposals that’s aimed at helping to balance the nearly $500 million shortfall in the state’s 2018 budget.

The chamber has thrown its endorsement behind the governor’s proposed Commercial Activities Tax, commonly called CAT, Chamber President Steve Roberts said in a news release from Justice’s office Friday evening.

The 0.00045 percent tax on businesses’ gross receipts has been estimated to bring in $45 million in revenue. Justice has described the tax as taking one penny for every $4 spent in the Mountain State.

In the news release, Roberts reiterated that businesses want stability and predictability, and he said West Virginia employers had indicated they were willing to participate in the tax to stabilize the state’s finances.

“The least painful thing we can do is a temporary Commercial Activities Tax that will sunset,” Roberts said in the release. “We believe businesses realize it’s a significant contribution and appropriate one. The business community recognizes that education and good health are essential to the future success of our state. Vital health and education programs are on the line, and if participation from business can save those programs, our members want to be part of the solution.”

With a week left in the regular legislative session, which ends Saturday, April 8, Justice said he hoped he and legislators were close to closing the deal.

“I’ve said all along that the budget must have everyone pulling the rope together, and my deal does that,” Justice said. “We’ve been negotiating to come up with a solution that’s as painless as possible for West Virginia, and this is a path forward that has participation from government, businesses, the super-rich and the people. This budget will save the patient.”

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