As that impact started to become evident, McCabe said he thought the Tomblin administration was going to have a bill to scale back the credit in 2012. When that didn't happen, the Senate introduced its own bill (SB624), which passed the Senate, but was never taken up by House Finance.
This year, Tomblin did, of course, offer the bill to roll back the credit, with a cut-off date of Dec. 31, 2012.
White said there was a lot of resistance among delegates to eliminate the credit retroactively, fearing it would set a bad precedent, so the legislation was made effective from passage -- and publicity about the repeal led to surge of car buying before the April 14 date.
And, judging by the numbers of amended tax returns Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow said were filed, there were a lot of taxpayers who realized after the fact they had purchased vehicles that qualified for the credit.
White said that while the $100 million hole in income tax collections isn't good, there should have been an uptick in privilege taxes (the 5 percent tax on vehicle purchases) and in personal property tax collections in the counties.
Sure enough, according to figures from DMV Commissioner Steve Dale, privilege taxes for this April-June (dealers have 60 days after the sale to submit the taxes) of $51.08 million was up 11.6 percent over the same period in 2012.
For fiscal 2013, privilege taxes bought in $187.43 million, up 6.1 percent over FY12 -- and Dale noted that new car sales have been going up as the economy has approved.
Finally, White tells me that, in order to plug holes in the upcoming 2014-15 budget, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss are looking at raiding legislative accounts.
(The Legislature has about $75.7 million put away in various accounts, including $55.7 million in its TRAFFIC account, set up as its mini-Rainy Day fund in the event of natural or financial disasters, or serious downturn in tax collections.)
White said that's ironic since the TRAFFIC account was created when Tomblin and Kiss were Senate and House Finance chairmen, and noted they would have fought tooth-and-nail if an administration had tried to raid it back then.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.