West Virginia editorial roundup
Recent editorials from West Virginia newspapers:
Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail on Canada being a tax haven:
The average temperature in Miami is 67 degrees in January. In Ontario, January temperatures range from an average low of 17 to a high of 33.
But Burger King plans to pull up stakes in Miami and move its headquarters to Ontario. That reflects a frigid business climate in the United States.
Burger King will pay nearly $12 billion to acquire Tim Horton’s -- a Canadian chain of coffee-and-doughnut shops -- and then incorporate in Canada.
Taxes drive this move. The top corporate tax rate in Canada is 15 percent. In the United States, it is 39 percent. Even after adding Ontario’s top rate of 11 percent rate, Canada’s corporate tax rates are two-thirds of those in the United States.
The idea that Canada is a tax haven boggles the mind. That is how out-of-step U.S. taxes are.
“It does get a little annoying when we see other people paying far lower tax rates while engaging in the same sorts of businesses that we engage in,” billionaire Warren Buffett told CNBC.
Buffett is helping to finance the deal.
Taxes alone are not the reason for the deal. Combining Burger King and Tim Horton’s will create the world’s third-largest fast-food company. Some analysts see room to grow Tim Horton’s outside of North America.
But the re-incorporation is an example of supply-side economics. By keeping its corporate tax rates double that of Canada, the U.S. Treasury will see its revenues drop while Canada’s rise in this deal.
If, after this, people still cannot see the ignorance of continuing a usurious tax structure, nothing will.
While Buffett, an early supporter of President Obama, said he does not think corporate taxes are too high, the deal he is helping finance says otherwise.
“This whole thing . . . will cause one hell of a fight in corporate America,” Buffett told CNBC.
This is the conversation Americans should have, instead of questioning the patriotism of corporate executives who are supposed to do the best for their shareholders.
It’s time people in Washington do what is best for the country and lower the corporate tax rates.
Herald-Dispatch, Huntington, West Virginia, on education:
Business leaders from around the state will gather this week at The Greenbrier resort for the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting.
And as Chamber President Steve Roberts puts it, the top topics are “Energy, Education & Elections.”
It is hard to imagine a year when energy and politics were not top of mind for the state chamber, but it is encouraging to see that raising the bar for education is part of the program, too.
Friday morning, the group is planning a symposium program called “Why West Virginia’s Future Depends on an A+ Education System.”
The panel will feature state Board of Education President Gayle Manchin and the new state superintendent, Dr. Michael Martirano, as well as several other educators and state board members.
The future of the energy industry is certainly a critical issue for West Virginia, but one can argue that the state’s struggle to produce a more educated population and more educated workforce is an even greater obstacle to growth and development.
When it comes to education, there are plenty of scores and numbers that can sometimes be confusing. But the most basic statistic probably tells the story best. West Virginia ranks 50th in the percentage of adults who finished college, 49th in the percentage with an advanced degree and 43rd in the percentage of high school graduates. Kentucky is only slightly better, ranking 47th on college degrees, 32nd on advanced degrees and 47th on high school degrees. Ohio is much more in the middle on all of those rankings.
West Virginia’s overall average score remains below the national average and has not improved in the last several years. Moreover, the report shows that only 19 percent of the Mountain State students who took the test are ready for college in all four of the test areas -- English, reading, math and science.
We hope the chamber symposium and the fresh leadership on the state level will dig into what needs to be done and how quickly schools can improve. Because the title of the session is right on target -- “West Virginia’s Future Depends on an A+ Education System.”