WHEELING, W.Va. — Residents and business owners in Wheeling will have their opportunity to weigh in on Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie’s proposal to raise the sales tax by .5 percent this week.
A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon on the plan to combine the sales tax increase with a reduction to the retail business and occupation tax, along with the complete elimination of the B&O tax for manufacturing in Wheeling.
McKenzie said the current tax structure, with B&O taxes based on the revenues going through a business, is hurting his city.
“It’s non-competitive. It puts us at a disadvantage with Ohio and Pennsylvania because it’s not a tax that businesses pay in those states and, the problem is, you don’t know what the tax is going to be,” he said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
He called the proposed increase to the sales tax a “consumption” tax that helps simplify things. It would not apply to prepared food, gasoline or car sales.
“We’re reducing the bureaucracy and the taxes on the people that create jobs,” he said.
McKenzie estimated the changes could generate $1.4 million more each year that would go directly to infrastructure improvements within Wheeling city limits, including renovations to WesBanco Arena.
“Our plan is, if we generate more than we believe, we’re going to come back and cut more, eliminate more B&O taxes,” the mayor said.
Tuesday’s public hearing in front of Wheeling’s City Council starts at noon at the City-County Building. The council will vote on the proposal this month.
Because Wheeling falls under Home Rule, the West Virginia Municipal Home Rule Board will ultimately have to approve the proposed tax changes.