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W.Va. tax reform chair in no rush to change tax code

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As the Joint Committee on Tax Reform delves further into the state tax code, the co-chair of the committee said Monday that an “all-encompassing tax redo” is doubtful by the 2016 legislative session.

Delegate Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, said that doesn’t mean there won’t be some tax reform bills in the mix.

 “I think we’ll get to the stage we can find pieces we can attack early; there’ll be some low-hanging fruit,” Nelson said. “I would hope we would come up with something before the session begins.”

Although Nelson predicted a slow sea change on tax reform, he said, “That could all change.”

“I think we are continuing to dig a bigger hole,” Nelson said. “There’s a lot of information. It gets more complicated each time we open something up.”

Indeed, Monday’s agenda covered some complicated taxation issues.

• Tax Increment Financing: Spilman, Thomas and Battle attorney Brian Helmick explained that since 2002 local governments have been able to give tax breaks to businesses to help with the debt service on infrastructure projects.

A TIF freezes tax valuation at the time of the property purchase. Helmick said the state has 31 TIF zones in 15 counties. All have been vetted and approved by the State Development Office, he said.

While most counties have just one TIF, Monongalia has eight; both Ohio and Harrison counties have four…


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