Go Ahead With B&O Tax Relief

Income from a new city sales tax in Wheeling is lagging far, far behind expectations. That should not prompt city officials to cancel a business tax break planned in conjunction with the sales tax.

A one-half percent tax on sales of many goods and services in the city went into effect Oct. 1. During its first three months, the tax brought in only about $278,000 – about half what had been expected.

It is too early to conclude a serious error was made in estimating proceeds from the tax. Some businesses may not be aware they are supposed to be collecting it.

Proceeds from the tax were earmarked for two purposes: improving infrastructure, including WesBanco Arena, and providing a $1 million-a-year cut in city business and occupation taxes. The B&O tax break is scheduled to begin April 1.

Trimming B&O taxes should help Wheeling businesses. It should encourage creation of new businesses. That could boost revenue from the sales tax.

For now, City Council should hold off on infrastructure improvements planned with tax proceeds, until more is known about how much will be collected. But plans for the B&O tax reduction should remain in place.