Daily Tax Report: State provides authoritative coverage of state and local tax developments across the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, tracking legislative and regulatory updates,...
Bloomberg BNA recently posed a series of tax-centric questions to the Republican and Democrat candidates for governor in Washington. Below are the responses from Republican candidate Bill Cole.
Interview by Christopher Brown
Bill Cole entered the West Virginia Legislature in 2010, when he was appointed to the House of Delegates by Gov. Joe Manchin (D). He won a seat in the Senate two years later and then helped lead the successful Republican effort in 2014 to win control of that body for the first time in 83 years. He was elected Senate president in the aftermath of the 2014 election. Cole has been a businessman for 30 years and currently is the owner of a group of auto dealerships and an aviation company. He received a bachelor’s degree from Northwood University and is married with four children.
Editor's Note: Bill Cole didn't respond to Bloomberg BNA's tax questionnaire that sought his opinion related to priorities on state and local tax issues, hurdles in enacting his tax policy priorities, challenges in the tax and revenue realm facing the state in light of market conditions and whether the state’s tax regime is properly balanced. Below are comments from Kent Gates, Cole's spokesman, and Steve Roberts, president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
Cole would like to reform and modernize the state’s tax code, said Kent Gates, his campaign spokesman. But the first order of business for state officials is dealing with a looming $350 million budget deficit expected for the coming fiscal year.
“Bill Cole has some ideas for tax code changes, such as lowering the sales tax rate and broadening the base,” Gates told Bloomberg BNA Oct. 28. “We’d also like to take a look at the coal severance tax, a tax on coal production that many other states don’t have and which makes West Virginia uncompetitive, and the business personal property tax, which gets in the way of business investment and growth in jobs. But before anyone can talk about changes to the tax code, we have to get a handle on spending and on programs we have in the state that we don’t need or can’t afford. Before we modernize our tax code, we need to modernize our government.”
Steve Roberts, president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, which has endorsed Cole for governor, said the chamber agrees that the state’s first priority should be controlling spending rather than looking for ways to cut taxes.
“We’re going to need to either cut spending or increase revenue,” he told Bloomberg BNA Oct. 25. “It doesn’t mean that you have to cut with a broadaxe, there could be surgical cuts that would help. But we really need to look at our programs and decide what our state government should be doing.”
As for Gates’s suggestions about possible tax-code changes, Roberts said that significant reform will only be possible as part of a comprehensive re-evaluation of the state’s tax and revenue situation.
“The state’s budget problems can be attributed in part to a collapse in revenue from the coal severance tax, which was the source of around $450 million as recently as fiscal year 2011,” Roberts said. “But it brought in just $250 million in the most recent fiscal year.”
The business personal property tax also is an important source of revenue, particularly for local governments and school districts, Roberts said. But because it is embedded in the state constitution, changing it would take a vote of the people rather than just a vote in the Legislature.
“We think that the new governor should be open to a comprehensive review, including a review of the state constitution,” Roberts said. “But that’s a tax that will be tough to change.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Brown in St. Louis at ChrisBrown@bna.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan C. Tuck at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2016 Tax Management Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)