By Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette-Mail
January 29, 2020
For years, some legislators and business lobbyists have clamored for an end to the personal property tax on manufacturing machinery, equipment and inventory — which they say would encourage more businesses to come to West Virginia.
Lawmakers have never ended the tax for one big reason: They haven’t been able to figure out how to replace the money the tax brings in, which goes to counties to fund school systems, sheriff’s departments and more.
As lawmakers grapple again with the issue, a Gazette-Mail analysis of data from the state Tax Division shows that a handful of West Virginia’s 55 counties would be hit hard by the removal of the inventory tax, while others would barely be affected at all.
Four counties — Brooke, Hancock, Jackson and Pleasants — would have lost more than 20 percent of their property tax revenue for the 2018 tax year if the inventory tax wasn’t there, according to the data. Two of those counties, Jackson and Brooke, would each have lost more than $6 million.