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Kabler: Tax cuts, fiscal cliffs and 'Buckwild'

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The recent New York Times article that seriously over-inflated tax credits provided by the state was another example of why reporters and math don't mix.

Fortunately, the timing was impeccable, with the release of the annual Tax Credit Disclosure List by the Department of Revenue.

The latest report, for 2007 (the disclosure list is always a five-year look-back since returns can be amended for that period of time) shows that the state gave, not $1.5 billion, but $81.87 million in tax credits.

A good chunk of that is from tax credits that the Legislature actually sunsetted in 2002 -- including the infamous super tax credit -- but because the credits can be claimed for periods of anywhere from five to 15 years, they continue to show up on the 2007 report.

The sunsetted credits account for about $22.4 million of the total, including $14.37 million in super tax credits.

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2007 was the year Heather Bresch became chief operating officer of Mylan Pharmaceuticals, and it was a very good for the Canonsburg, Pa.-based company when it came to state tax credits.

Credits Mylan obtained by amount categories include:

 

  • Economic Opportunity Credit against business franchise tax, $500,000 to $1 million.
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  • Economic Opportunity Credit against corporate net, more than $1 million.
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  • Industrial Expansion/Revitalization Credit, $100,000 to $250,000.
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  • Manufacturing Investment Credit, $50,000 to $100,000.
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  • Research and Development Credit, $500,000 to $1 million.
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  • Strategic Research and Development Credit, $500,000 to $1 million.
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  • Super Tax Credit against business franchise tax, $250,000 to $500,000.
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  • Super Tax Credit against corporate net, $500,000 to $1 million.
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    Other companies receiving tax credits in the $1 million or more category:

     

  • Industrial Expansion/Revitalization Credit: Allegheny Energy, Greensburg, Pa.; Appalachian Power, Canton, Ohio; Ohio Power, Canton, Ohio; Dominion Energy, Richmond, Va.
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  • Strategic Research and Development Credit: American Electric Power, Columbus, Ohio.
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  • Super Tax Credit against business franchise tax: Toyota Motor Sales, Torrance, Cal.
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  • Super Tax Credit against corporate net: Toyota Motor Sales.
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  • Super Tax Credits against severance tax: Catenary Coal, Charleston; Elk Run Coal, Richmond.
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  • Utility Low-Income Credits: Allegheny Energy, Appalachian Power, Hope Gas, Mountaineer Gas.
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    Interestingly, the Legislature passed the law to provide disclosure of tax credits (by broad dollar categories) in 1992, but as Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow points out, has not gone back to amend it to include tax credits that have been created since then.

    Tax credits that aren't subject to disclosure are the Film Industry Investment credit, currently the largest unreported credit at about $2 million a year, as well as credits for mine safety equipment, alternative fuel vehicles, and the potential biggie, an energy intensive industry tax credit that could be worth up to $20 million a year, if the Century Aluminum plant in Ravenswood ever restarts.

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    Yes, I know the difference between "corroborate" and "collaborate." Darn that auto-correct.

    That being said, there's still nothing to corroborate claims by Mountain State Justice that Jorea Marple was fired as state Superintendent of Schools for opposing board members on no-bid contracts.

    Of the companies cited by Mountain State Justice, one was not approved for sole-source status (as reported here) and the other evidently never had a contract with the Board of Education.

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    Just as Coach Dana Holgorsen is shaking up his defensive coaching staff after a rough season, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is shaking up her Elections Division, which among recent faux pas, failed to publish the required notice of the proposed sheriffs succession amendment on the November ballot.

    Layna Valentine-Brown is the new division director, in addition to retaining responsibilities as the office's Help America Vote Act Coordinator.

    Former division director Dave Nichols has been bumped down to legal assistant in the Legal Division.

    Greg Watson, campaign finance specialist, and Andrew Ickes, elections specialist, have left the SoS office to take jobs in Washington D.C.

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    Finally, speaking of Heather Bresch, I ran into her dad Sunday at the Capitol Market, and couldn't resist giving him a hard time for picking on MTV and its new series "Buckwild."

    Sen. Joe Manchin, naturally, went off on a rant about how terrible the series is, and how it misrepresents what young people in West Virginia are all about. (Amazing that critics of the series have been able to discern so much from a two-minute promo.)

    Meanwhile, commentators from The Hill to Jimmy Kimmel have asserted that though his widespread criticism of the show, Manchin has fallen into the same trap as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose harsh pre-premiere attacks on "Jersey Shore" helped assure that the "Buckwild" predecessor would become a ratings hit.

    Of course, as Manchin learned from his Uncle Jimmy, a West Virginia politician can never go wrong defending the honor of the state against media agitators from New York or Hollywood.

    Reach Phil Kabler at philk@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.


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