Lawmakers can’t put tax reform burden on counties

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Tax reform is a difficult proposition. If it were easy, we’d have done it years ago.

Currently, the legislative Select Committee for Fair Taxation has held a couple of meetings in Charleston on reforming the state’s tangled tax code and many county officials are holding their collective breath.

 The Charleston Gazette recently reported that a large focus of the reform package might include reduced property taxes, which are a main source of revenue for counties and county school boards.

According to the Gazette, counties are projecting a large decline in severance taxes in the coming year due to the flagging coal industry and the slowdown in gas drilling.

Combined with reduced property tax revenues, the majority of the state’s 55 counties would be in a serious financial bind.

Former legislator and now Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie told West Virginia Metro News that tax reform should not put an undue burden on counties.

“There are things that they can do that, while it would fix, maybe, their problems, it would just simply hurt local government…

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