CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It’s getting better all the time. That’s the assessment of declining business taxes in West Virginia, reductions that take effect with the start of the New Year, from state Chamber of Commerce President Steve Roberts.
“From a national rating scale, West Virginia has moved from being, sort of, at the bottom to pack (for business tax obligations) to being about in the middle of the pack. In many, many cases, being in the middle of the pack is probably very good,” Roberts said.
“We still have a relatively high business tax burden in West Virginia. The point is, it is so, so much better than it was.”
Starting Wednesday, New Year’s Day, the corporate net income tax, which is based on federal taxable income derived in West Virginia, will drop to 6.5 percent, which is down from a high of 8.75 percent.
The business franchise tax, a tax on the privilege of doing business in West Virginia, will fall to 0.1 percent on Jan. 1 before being completely eliminated at the start of 2015.
Before the business reductions started under Governor Joe Manchin, Roberts said West Virginia had the fourth highest business tax rates in the entire United States.
With the lower rates, “That can only help us as we try to attract jobs,” said Roberts. It’s help, he said, the state needs because West Virginia is still ranked at the bottom in many other areas.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, for example, West Virginia sits in spot number 52 out of 53 possible places for creating new jobs in the United States, rankings that also include Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington, D.C.
“We’ve already made national rankings, in term of improvement, and that can only help us as we try to attract jobs,” said Roberts who was optimistic about a turnaround for the state’s economy.
On Wednesday, the price of a gallon of gasoline in West Virginia was also scheduled to go up by one cent. The increase comes from the annual recalculation of the gas tax based on the average wholesale price of gasoline.