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Council Introducing Ordinance to Rescind Occupation Tax
Negotiations continue with the parties who initiated the occupation tax suit. "They have agreed not to press for attorneys fees," Williams told council. Previously, the mayor had expressed strong opposition to "settling" the litigation by paying the fees.
Huntington has promised the legislature and others that the tax will not be implemented. The ordinance confirms this position which has been reiterated but slowed due to on-going settlement negotiations with the parties who opposed the tax in court.
"We're not quite to the point where we can say it is settled," Williams told council.
However, the administration has calculated a legislative worst case scenario --- the non-renewal of the Home Rule Pilot Program, which would imperil the 1% city sales tax. Having described home rule's fate as a potential nail biter, the city has prepared for reinstatement of the Business and Occupation on manufacturing, and returning B & O on service and retail to previous levels.
The non-renewal would then leave only about a $100,000 budget gap, but Huntington would lose its now more business friendly than the mall designation, the Mayor said.
"We are now more competitive than any other West Virginia municipality. All mall retailers pay higher taxes than if [located] downtown," Williams said.