HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The Huntington City Council on Monday voted to eliminate the city’s business and occupation tax more than a year after its initial suspension.
Councilmembers approved suspending the tax in April 2020 to provide retail to businesses and restaurants impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Huntington Mayor Steve Williams recommended the permanent elimination.
“We saw in our experiment over the last several months, year and a half … that that reduction in revenue or elimination of revenue was offset by an unexpected increase in sales tax revenue collections,” Williams said.
The city estimates the pause cost the city $2 million in revenue, but the sales tax revenue made up the amount.
“As a result of that, we feel it is appropriate for us to make the business environment much more competitive to our local retailers and restaurants so that they may compete with businesses throughout the region as though they were operating outside,” Williams added.
Williams noted people will be interested in operating in Huntington, and the community will benefit through employment growth and increased sales tax revenue.
“Frankly, I’m getting calls from other mayors around the state and other businesses around the state saying congratulations on this proposal [and asking] how can we do this,” he added.
The council voted unanimously for the elimination.