West Virginia lawmakers weigh economic development, budget

By Steven Allen Adams, Parkersburg News and Sentinel

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Going into the 2020 legislative session starting next week, members of the West Virginia Legislature and the top official at the Department of Commerce told media Friday that work continues on improving economic development in the state.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Craig Blair answers questions about plans to repeal the business and inventory tax. Delegate Mick Bates and Senator Corey Palumbo also spoke on the panel. (Photo by Steven Allen Adams)

Members of the state’s news outlets gathered Friday for the West Virginia Press Association’s annual Legislative Lookahead at the Cultural Center in Charleston. Friday morning’s panels focused on economic development, the upcoming budget for fiscal year 2021, and tax reform by removing the business and inventory tax.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, said that repealing the business and inventory tax is a high priority for the Legislature in the upcoming legislative session starting Wednesday, Jan. 8.

“Over the years in the last two decades there’s been a multitude of people who have tried to get this done,” Blair said. “That has not happened yet. We’ve only nibbled around.”

Lawmakers believe that removing the tax would help spur development of existing businesses and help bring in new industries in the state that rely on manufacturing equipment. But the tax, built directly into the state constitution, helps fund county governments and school systems. According to Blair, removing the tax would cost an estimated $100 million. …

Read more: https://www.newsandsentinel.com/news/local-news/2020/01/west-virginia-lawmakers-weigh-economic-development-budget/

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