With a sharply declining tax base and fiscal pressures looming in the coming years, West Virginia must look to bold, creative means to improve our economy, provide jobs, and increase our tax base. How do we utilize our existing resources to do this?
I posit that we can preserve our rich architectural history while simultaneously providing jobs for the hard working people of West Virginia.
Our state is dotted with beautiful structures of our industrial and agricultural past. Yet across the Mountain State, our very heritage is in danger. Every year, historic buildings are torn down in West Virginia, while many of the remaining ones are degrading past the point of preservation.
However, I believe it’s possible not only to save our heritage and architecture, but also make it one piece in the larger puzzle of diversifying our economy and increasing jobs and taxes.
How do we do this? I’ll start with an example of a building our company rehabbed on the corner of Charleston’s Tennessee and Washington Street.
The Ort Building, acquired in 2003 for $80,000, is a three-story structure composed of 1890s red brick. After four years, $900,000, and the labor of roughly five workers, this 9,000 square foot building now holds seven small businesses and employs approximately 20 people.
If we assume an average salary of $40,000 per person filing single in 2015, that would mean an approximate total of $2,400 in state income taxes, $2,500 in Social Security, $600 Medicare and $5,800 in federal income taxes. When you account for the employer’s matching of Medicare and Social Security, this comes to a round total of $14,400 in taxes generated per person. Multiplied by 20 people, this building helps generate approximately $290,000 per year into the tax base, not taking into account itemized or standard deductions.
Further, if the businesses in the building generated a gross income of $2 million, at an average rate of 1 percent business and occupation taxes paid to the city of Charleston would be $20,000…