West Virginia Town Torn Over Sales Tax
- Nov 3, 2015 | Gail Cole
Only sixteen municipalities in West Virginia levy a local sales tax in addition to the state sales tax, and more than half of those local taxes took effect on July 1, 2015. Local sales tax is not widespread, but interest in it appears to be growing. Late last month, for example, the Clarksburg City Council engaged in a “heated exchange” over a proposed 1% local sales tax.
Future sales tax revenue could repair infrastructure, expand bridges, and fund police and firefighter pensions (which require cost of living adjustments). It could also maintain or increase revenue in spite of cuts to the B&O tax.
Opponents of the proposed sales tax such as Councilman Ryan Kennedy worry about “piling on a tax at a time when [the poor] can’t handle it. It’s not where the money may go, but where it’s coming from. It’s the poor people we’re going to hurt.”
Proponents argue that there are few viable options for additional revenue and maintain that Clarksburg’s most vulnerable citizens (the elderly and the poor) would not be unduly impacted because food and prescription medicines would remain sales tax exempt. They also underscore that sales tax would apply to online purchases.
Find accurate local sales tax rates for all states here.