Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

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Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

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Tax report relies on flawed models

The article Tax reform study finds growth potential (Garrett Ballengee and Paul Bachmann, March 18) relies on a deeply flawed model to convince West Virginians that the state would experience robust growth if it cuts income taxes and increases sales taxes. This is the same false promise that has been peddled in state capitals around the country. The authors suggest West Virginia could grow its economy by moving the state tax system away from the income tax and toward a heavier reliance on regressive sales taxes.

This has been tried in Kansas with damaging results. The states tax structure has become less fair, its budget has fallen out of balance, and its economy continues to lag behind the national average.

Its not in the best interest of the majority of West Virginians to be more like Kansas. Currently, low- and middle-income West Virginia families spend between 8.6 and 9.0 percent of what they earn paying state and local taxes.

High-income families, by contrast, pay about 6.5 percent of their income in tax. It is likely the percent for lower-income families will grow, and the percent for the rich will decrease, if the state cuts income taxes and relies more heavily on sales tax revenue.

Carl Davis

Research Director

Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Washington, D.C.

Cole has what it takes to lead state

Coming later this year, West Virginia has a vital choice over who will lead state government.

Right now, the Democrats have a field that features an anti-jobs leftist, a mogul with billions of dollars and uncounted tax violations and a man who has shown integrity but has questionable commitment to fundamental changes in state government.

West Virginia cannot keep going as it has. State government has expanded under Democratic control even as the population has not grown. Democrats have ignored economic realities while binding the taxpayers to enormous and unnecessary expenditures.

Worst of all, even as the administrations change, the same people remain in charge. Meanwhile Gov. Tomblin has played his partys well worn game of gamesmanship over statesmanship by surprising the Legislature at the last minute with revised revenue estimates. …

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