More Speculative Tax Credits for Business, While Current Innovators in WV Go Begging

Phil Kabler has a story in this morning’s Charleston Gazette about a bill (HB4343) that would create more than $90 million in tax credits:

Under the bill, advanced Monday from the House Finance Committee, the governor could designate up to 10 economically distressed areas as launch pads.

Businesses involved in innovative or emerging technologies that locate within the launch pads could qualify for a number of tax credits, including a new jobs credit of $1,250 a year for each new full-time job with benefits created within the zone.

Qualifying businesses would also be exempt from paying sales taxes, personal income taxes, corporate net and business franchise taxes for up to 16 years, and any personal property and real property directed used in the state-of-the-art technology would be appraised at scrap value, or 5 percent of cost, for tax purposes.

Later in the article, Mr. Kabler points out:

Currently, the Tomblin administration is trying to close a $146 million revenue gap in the 2014-15 state budget, a gap caused in part by $360 million in tax cuts for this budget year.

Former Del. John Doyle, now Deputy Revenue Secretary, pointed to the speculative nature of these kinds of tax cuts:

Doyle noted the state has a history of tax credits that didn’t work as intended.

“I’m not saying these won’t work. We just don’t know,” he said.

So the Legislature throws away $90 million in future tax revenue, while they are trying to close a current budget hole that was caused by past tax giveaways, mainly to big corporations.

Why can’t they support the Solar Carve Out bill and small tax credits for emergency solar powered battery backup systems that will support innovation that is already underway across our state?

Likewise, owners of certified businesses who live within the same launch pad zone would be exempt from state personal income taxes.

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