City halts $10 million project, awaiting Legislature to decide on business & occupational tax bill

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HURRICANE, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Wednesday marked the primary day of the 2022 legislative session in West Virginia, and already some payments dropped at the desk are bringing considerations with them.

“Since we don’t know if (enterprise and occupational tax) will change, that’s why we’re pausing proper now,” Hurricane Mayor Scott Edwards advised WSAZ. “We simply wish to be certain that the town is stable on a regular basis. We’re not the kind of authorities that wishes to signal on the dotted line after which not make our bond funds.”

On Wednesday, lawmakers launched Senate Bill 132, which is aimed to remove municipalities’ enterprise and occupational, or B&O tax, inside a five-year interval. Because it stands, some cities have each a house rule, which is a 1% enhance in gross sales tax that goes in the direction of the cities, and B&O tax. Nonetheless, lawmakers say they might reasonably cities have one or the opposite — not each.

The town of Hurricane determined to pause their $10 million Hurricane Bridge Park venture as they await what the Legislature will resolve to do. The park would come with 4 baseball fields, an amphitheater, strolling trails and disc golf.

“It’s designed to attempt to create some reduction on these companies as a result of, most of our companies are small companies they usually’re hurting proper now,” state Sen. Rollan Roberts, R-Raleigh County, mentioned. “So can we in some way determine how the house rule, that was made accessible to everyone final yr — can we make that one thing that there’s a trade-off? That’s what (was) purported to occur initially, nevertheless it form of fell aside and it’s not nailed down in code.”

Roughly 40% of the Hurricane metropolis price range comes from the town’s B&O taxes. Mayor Edwards additionally added that the 1% gross sales tax, or house rule, that their metropolis additionally has, is already dedicated to paying off their new fireplace division.

“So that you assume, 40 to 50 p.c of the police division can be gone, 40 to 50 p.c of the firefighters, gone, 40 to 50 p.c of the individuals on the road division gone,” Edwards mentioned.

Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin advised WSAZ that roughly $42 million of their $100 million price range is made up of B&O taxes. She additionally mentioned their 1% gross sales tax is devoted to paying off pensions and different bond money owed.

“Proper now, (municipalities are) getting numerous cash, that’s additional, coming in with all of this infrastructure,” mentioned Senator Roberts. “Possibly that is the important thing time to have the ability to make this crossover and see if we are able to do one thing that will stability all of it out and be higher in the long term.”

“We’ll nonetheless work in the direction of Hurricane Bridge Park; we’ll do it slowly. It might take us ten or twelve years to get it executed, as a substitute of 1 yr, however we’ll do it as we are able to,” Mayor Edwards advised WSAZ. “However we’re simply form of in a ready sport proper now. We’re simply ready to see what the Legislature does. I hope they do the correct factor and don’t lower the funding sources for the cities.”

The invoice will now undergo the committees course of.

If it passes, cities would have 5 years to resolve whether or not to maintain their 1% gross sales tax or preserve their B&O tax.

In case you’d wish to learn the invoice in full, faucet here.

Copyright 2022 WSAZ. All rights reserved.

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