Eliminating BPOL tax could cost taxpayers millions - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Eliminating BPOL tax could cost taxpayers millions

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Helping businesses, it's a message the gubernatorial candidates are fighting to own ahead of November's election.

"I want to bring that business approach, that business experience," Democrat Terry McAuliffe said during the most recent debate.

"(I want to) put money in the hands of our businesses so they can re-invest it," Republican Ken Cuccinelli said at the same forum.

It's one of the few things they agree on, and it could cost local governments millions.

At the top Cuccinelli's and McAuliffe's tax plans is the elimination or reduction of the Business Professional Occupation Licensing tax, better known as BPOL.

Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis also wants to get rid of BPOL.

While Virginia business owners would save...

"It would have a crippling effect," said Roanoke County Supervisor Butch Church.

Local communities rely on the tax to help pay for services.

If eliminated, Roanoke County would lose $6 million per year.

The impact for Roanoke City would be even greater, at more than $12 million per year.

"You try to be fiscally responsible prior to things like this happening, but I don't know if anyone can prepare for $6 million," Church said. "It's just too much."

Roanoke Delegate Onzlee Ware said this isn't the first time cutting the BPOL tax has been brought up in Richmond.

He suggests doing an impact study before any decisions are made.

"We don't want to overreach to help business and at the same time harm our localities," Ware said. "It needs to be a measured, thoughtful, reasonable approach."

According to the McAuliffe campaign, they will give local governments the option of eliminating BPOL and replacing it with an equal revenue generator.

If BPOL is eliminated without any balance, taxes could be on the rise since most local governments can't afford to eat millions of dollars.

Any change to the tax would need approval from the General Assembly.



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