by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter

HUNTINGTON, WV (HNN) – Huntington City Council’s Finance Committee recommended a B & O tax incentive for passage by the full council at its Monday, Jan. 3 meeting.

The ordinance would permit offsets of business and occupation taxes on major projects that build in Huntington or annex into the city.

Economic Development Director Tom Bell called this ‘another tool in the toolbox to move the city forward.”

Councilman Nate Randolph indicated that the 50% reduction for the first three years of operation would apply to all businesses that meet all four of the requirements which pertain to $5 million dollars construction expenditures and minimum number of 20 new construction employees.

Bell stressed that the partial exemption would be automatic for those for profit entities that qualify.

Committee members discussed removing a current B & O incentive provision that requires that the qualified business make an application to city council.

Finance Committee Chairman Steve Williams said, “If we are going to give an incentive, I believe the incentive needs to be a matter of law that anybody who meets the conditions [qualifies].”

After input from City Attorney Scott McClure, the committee appeared ready to delete the application to council for the incentive to prevent any appearance of political influence.

Finance Committee Chairman Steve Williams called this ordinance a “huge” step toward improving business friendliness.