Also during Thursday's Department of Revenue budget presentation to the House Finance Committee:
• Muchow was asked how much the state would need to increase the sales tax in order to eliminate the gas tax.
Since each 1 percent of sales tax brings in $200 million, he said, it would require increasing the sales tax from 6 percent to 8 percent, with a rate of about 7 1/2 percent, if the fuel tax on diesel remained in place.
The question was prompted by legislation in Virginia to replace that state's excise tax on gasoline with a wholesale tax, and to raise the sales tax from 5 percent to 5.3 percent to make up the difference.
Virginia also dedicates 1 percent of its sales tax to its state road fund, Muchow said. Like many states, Virginia has tried to come up with alternative ways to fund road construction and maintenance, as high-mileage vehicles drive down gas tax collections.
• Revenue Secretary Charlie Lorensen said the governor's bill to require online retailers that have distribution centers or retail outlets in West Virginia to collect sales taxes on purchases by West Virginia residents (SB377, HB2754) will not jeopardize the state's participation in the national Streamlined Sales Tax initiative.
Like many bills, legislation to create a standardized system of taxing online sales has been caught in congressional gridlock, he said.
Over time, opposition from major online retailers to the concept has faded, Lorensen said.
"Remember, AOL was very much against it," he said. "AOL is not a major player
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.