KEYSER - The Keyser City Council will be scheduling a work session soon to discuss a proposal by council member Eric Murphy to offer a tax incentive for new businesses to locate in the city.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - The Keyser City Council will be scheduling a work session soon to discuss a proposal by council member Eric Murphy to offer a tax incentive for new businesses to locate in the city.
On Wednesday, Murphy presented his fellow council members with a proposed amendment to the city’s Business & Occupation Tax ordinance which would offer a break on those taxes for the first two years that a business is in operation.
“I think we need to create an incentive for new business … this would be a great first foot forward,” he said.
According to Murphy’s proposal, a new business would not be charged any B&O tax for the first year. Then, from 12-15 months, the business would be charged 25 percent of the current rate, from 15-18 months the rate would go to 50 percent, and from 18-24 months, 75 percent.
After reaching the two-year mark, the business would pay the full tax rate.
Mayor Damon Tillman said he had discussed the proposal with city administrator Buck Eagle, and they agreed that there needs to be a clear definition as to what is considered a new business.
Eagle cited as an example: “If someone purchases an existing business, it is new to them,” he said. “Is expanding or adding onto an existing business making it a new business? Is it adding employees?
‘There’s a lot of details that need tightened up,” Eagle said.
Eagle also said the tax break might alienate existing businesses.
“Where is the reward for the existing business who has been paying taxes for years?” he asked.
“I’d like to do something special for them as well,” Murphy told him.
Tillman suggested scheduling a work session to iron out some of the details.
“We need to write down our questions and thoughts so we can discuss it and put something together,” he said.
“I just think we need to put the word out that we are business  friendly,” Murphy said.