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Broadcasters concerned about proposed income tax repeal

Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 5:48 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTAP) - Local broadcasters are among the groups opposed to a West Virginia legislative bill proposing state tax changes.

The bill is the Senate’s version of Gov. Jim Justice’s proposal to repeal the state personal income tax, replacing lost revenue with a number of state tax increases.

The portion of the bill in question would eliminate exemptions for a number of services, including advertising, and increasing the general sales tax from 6-8.5%.

Michelle Crist, Executive Director of the West Virginia Broadcasters Association, recently sent a letter to members of the Senate, saying the taxes, if enacted will be detrimental to businesses of all types statewide.

Here is the text of that letter:

On behalf of the members of the West Virginia Broadcasters Association, I would like to express our concerns over the Personal Income Tax bill. While we applaud the passion behind reducing the personal income tax for West Virginians, elimination of the advertising sales tax exemption and taxing professional services will be detrimental to many businesses across the state no matter what their industry size.

It is crucial coming out of this pandemic that every possible chance to rebound is afforded. Adding these taxes will be harmful to their re‐emergence. Businesses will take numerous hits depending on the services they utilize to operate. It is unreasonable to think that businesses can single handedly absorb substantial new taxes without passing along those costs to already hard‐hit consumers.

The effects are sobering as witnessed in Florida when a similar tax was instituted and repealed months later. Forty states have considered and rejected the idea. The proposed tax would also have a crippling effect on WV’s local media organizations. Local broadcasters serve a crucial role, especially in times like this, keeping the public up to date and informed. Eighty to eighty‐five percent of advertising purchased is from local businesses, employing local people and contributing to the local economy.

West Virginia is facing enormous financial challenges but placing new tax burdens on the backs of West Virginia’s primary economic drivers is a tough ask. We are happy to hear you’re open to working out a different approach. It is our hope we can meet with you to discuss our concerns. \

Michele C. Crist

WV Broadcasters Association

Governor Justice held the latest in a series of virtual town hall meetings Tuesday, to answer residents’ questions about the repeal.

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