The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber supports a revenue system for the Commonwealth that is equitable and broad-based, fosters a favorable business climate and encourages economic
development. Taxes should be few in number and easy to administer with the tax burden distributed primarily among income, sales, and property taxes. Equilibrium should be maintained between tax growth, population growth, and economic activity.
Administration of Taxes
- The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber supports an appeals procedure for all taxes that permit a simple, complete, and fair resolution of all issues by administrative authorities and, if necessary, by an impartial tribunal before payment of the tax.
- The Chamber further supports reasonable audit authority that ensures compliance with the tax laws without unduly burdening citizens.
- Tax authorities should be given adequate tools to permit the collection of taxes that have been duly and fairly assessed.
- Gross Receipts and Inventory Taxes
- The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber supports replacing gross receipts and inventory-based taxes with a fairer system that more equitably distributes the tax burden.
- The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber opposes excise taxes that are levied on essential goods and services and advocates limiting such taxes to luxury items.
- State excise taxes should be consistent with neighboring states to minimize tax avoidance through out-of-state purchases.
General Business Taxes
- The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber supports local and state tax policy that encourages business opportunities and investments for new and existing businesses.
- When special incentives are provided for new businesses, they should not be a detriment to existing businesses.
- Industry-specific taxes should generally be avoided.
- The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber advocates a state income tax that has neither a high marginal tax rate nor excessive brackets. Conformity with federal taxation is fundamental and nonconforming items should be few and simple to report and administer.
- Business and personal rates should be similar.
- The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber supports the uniform assessment of property taxes at fair market value.
- The Chamber opposes any effort to amend Virginia’s Constitution to permit localities to establish a classification system for real property allowing for different tax rates or assessment ratios for residential and commercial/industrial property, or caps on assessment growth.
- The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber supports the prudent use of debt for significant capital projects and infrastructure improvements in order to spread the cost over the useful life of the facilities. State and local bond ratings should not be jeopardized.
- The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber supports a competitive sales tax rate applied to a broad base designed to encompass true consumption. To protect this important revenue source, additional exemptions must be carefully considered before adoption.
- The Chamber supports the continuation of the long-standing state policy of not placing a sales tax on goods acquired for production.
User Fees and Permit Fees
- The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber supports a policy that limits user fees and charges to services which are not an essential function of government or are consumption-based. Revenues generated by such fees should be used solely to support the service provided rather than to support general government.