Home Rule in West Virginia Expands
- Sales Tax News
- Nov 19, 2015 | Gail Cole
Home Rule has been permitted in West Virginia since 2007, when the Municipal Home Rule Pilot Program and the Municipal Home Rule Board were created. Initially, five municipalities were authorized to participate. In 2013, that number was increased to 20. Two years later, the program was expanded again, allowing participation by 14 additional cities.
In September 2015, 6 additional cities were accepted into the program: Beckley, Grafton, Moundsville, Oak Hill, Princeton and Saint Albans.
On November 16, 2015, Elkins and Harpers Ferry were approved to participate in the Municipal Home Rule Pilot Program. Harpers Ferry is the first Class IV municipality to enter the program, meaning it has a population of fewer than 2,000.
The Board also approved amendments to the Home Rule plans of Bridgeport and South Charleston. As a result, both cities now have the authority to impose an additional 1% sales tax.
Neither city has yet made public when the rate increases will take effect. It is too late for a January 2016 start, and if either wants a rate change to take effect July 1, 2016, they must notify the West Virginia State Tax Department by January 1. Visit the WV Home Rule Pilot Program for additional information.
Dunbar, another home rule city, would also like to implement a 1% sales tax hike. According to Councilman Steve Arnott, "We've been struggling with our finances in Dunbar. [Implementing a 1 percent sales tax] certainly will help us." The city council has approved the rate increase and will next propose it to the Municipal Home Rule Board.
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