Other tax revenues generated as a result of the cracker -- increased personal income taxes or sales taxes -- would not make up the difference, because those revenues go to the state, not local governments and school systems, the report said.
The report noted that the Tax Department's review did not include any discussion of potential costs to the local community for increased infrastructure demands, need for other services like police and fire departments, or even the potential for increased school enrollment for workers' children.
"This could lead to higher property taxes on other business and homeowners in order to reduce the fiscal strain, and should have been included in a fiscal impact analysis," O'Leary wrote.
O'Leary also questions the notion that the tax break was necessary to lure a cracker plant to West Virginia.
"There is little evidence to suggest that West Virginia's property taxes are a deterrent, or that the tax incentive will be the reason why West Virginia would be chosen," O'Leary wrote. "While West Virginia does have a higher tax rate on business personal property, its rate on real property is far below both Pennsylvania and Ohio, according to the Council on State Taxation.
"Taken together, West Virginia's business property tax rates are close to the national average."
O'Leary and the center do not oppose efforts to bring the cracker to West Virginia, they just argue that state officials are not studying the full picture of positive and negative impacts of those efforts.
"While the location of a new cracker facility in West Virginia would be a great asset for the state, generating hundreds of jobs and boosting manufacturing, it is imperative that state and local officials understand the fiscal impact of tax incentives contained in HB4086."
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.