Use Separate Bill For Tax Credits

Here in the Mountain State, we have a saying relevant to what could happen to a proposal that is important for Wheeling and several other communities in West Virginia: Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

In other words, don’t let a good idea die just because it is embroiled in a bad one.

One avenue of development in older communities such as ours is redeveloping old buildings that are attractive because of their architecture. In Wheeling, that involves dozens of Victorian-era structures.

A state tax credit exists to encourage developers to renovate and repurpose such buildings — but some adjacent states have much higher credits. It was suggested earlier this year that legislators increase the West Virginia credit to make redevelopment here more attractive.

Lawmakers seem receptive to the idea, but it fell through one of those cracks that swallow up so many pieces of worthwhile legislation. It was given a second chance at life when Gov. Jim Justice and state senators included it in a comprehensive tax policy bill.

That measure was rejected by the House of Delegates, however.

Legislators begin a new special session Monday, with tax policy the key item of controversy.

They should take up the historic tax credit as a separate bill, not allowing it to be rejected simply because it is part of a larger, more controversial measure. The tax credit idea deserves to fly on its own merits.

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