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Local business owner concerned about impact of governor’s income tax repeal plan

Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 10:24 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - While West Virginia business owners have been skeptical about Gov. Jim Justice’s proposed elimination of the state income tax, a local business owner has a practical reason for opposing it.

Sherry Dugan runs the Das Rookhaus sandwich shop. The Dudley Avenue business has been a fixture in Parkersburg for four decades.

Part of the governor’s plan, intended to offset loss of state revenue from the eventual elimination of the income tax, is a 7.9% increase in the state sales tax. Locally, that would be in addition to a city sales tax of 1% in Parkersburg and Vienna.

Dugan says that would be hard on small businesses, in part because people could take their business into Ohio. She adds any change in state taxes has an effect on border counties.

But she adds a less-than-even numbered increase could be difficult for small businesses to calculate.

”The economical cash registers that we can purchase usually can only change in increments of a half to a whole,” Dugan says. “If they raise the sales tax, we won’t be able to program our registers, which will force us to buy expensive registers, which probably is not in too many of our budgets.”

She adds the city’s income tax, when it went into effect, was easier to calculate because it was an even 1%.

Dugan supports Justice’s idea of bringing more people to West Virginia. But the former Parkersburg City Councilwoman and candidate for mayor suggests things could be done at the local level to encourage that.

For one, she believes the now-10-year-old city user fee could be eliminated. The $2.50-a-week fee is charged to people who work in the city limits.

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