Editorial on Taxes Was Misleading

Dear Editor:

A recent editorial in this paper that characterized as unworkable the sate Senate plan to reduce and eliminate the personal income tax for every working West Virginian is based misleading informatoin.

The editorial suggests that a 1 percent increase in the consumer sales tax is too high a price to pay for a substantial reduction in the personal income taxes that are taken from the wages of every working West Virginian. The editorial compares a tentative sales tax in Wheeling, W.Va., of 8 percent to the Ohio sales tax of 5.75 percent and assumes that Wheeling residents will flee to Ohio to make their purchases.

If that were true, the editor would have a valid point. However, the editorial completely ignores the fact that Belmont County, Ohio, imposes an additional 1.5 percent sales tax. Therefore, the sales tax in Belmont County is actually 7.25 percent, according to the Ohio Department of Taxation. Therefore, when one considers that the actual differential in sales tax is less than 1 percent, the editor’s argument that West Virginia residents will make more purchases in Ohio virtually collapses.

The editorial commits even further error in suggesting that big-ticket purchases such as cars will be made in Ohio. It is important to note the fact that all vehicles titled and licensed in West Virginia are subject to the West Virginia automobile privilege tax of 5 percent. The state in which the motor vehicle is purchased has no bearing on the tax.

These and other significant errors by this newspaper create doubt as to the credibility of the analysis regarding this transformational, growth-oriented tax reform plan. One thing on which we can all agree: The current tax structure in West Virginia is not working. Let’s take bold action to revitalize our economy and put money in the pockets of working families.

Most economists believe that a slight increase in the sales tax, when coupled with a significant reduction in income taxes, will provide benefits to the economy. Overall, this plan represents aggressive tax reduction for West Virginia citizens and enables working families to keep more of their own hard-earned money.

Mitch B. Carmichael

President, West Virginia State Senate