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The success of Macy's should inspire W.Va.

Santa Claus may not have moved to the Eastern Panhandle, but his elves at Macy's gigantic online fulfillment center in Martinsburg made Christmas merry for many a customer.

"During the holiday shopping period, the Martinsburg center employed more than 1,300 associates and filled as many as 60,000 orders per day," Macy's spokesman Jim Sluzewski told Daily Mail Business Editor George Hohmann.

"It helped support our company's rapid growth in online sales, which rose by 39.2 percent in November and 51.7 percent in December compared to the same periods a year ago."

That's great. Macy's got orders. West Virginians got jobs. Macy's customers all over the eastern United States got gifts. Everyone was happy.

West Virginia needs to do that more often.

But policymakers should review what the state and Berkeley County had to do to get Macy's to invest $150 million in its center here rather than in New York - and change the policies that made it necessary.

* Berkeley County signed an agreement that cut the company's property taxes almost in half, paring it from $21 million over 15 years to payment of $11.25 million in lieu of taxes instead.

* The county agreed to issue bonds to pay for the land, building and equipment and to take ownership of the property.

* The state arranged a $5 million loan to the Berkeley County Development Authority to pay for site preparation.

* The state provided $1.8 million for job training.

* The state made $500,000 available for the Community and Technical College System to help Macy's with its start-up training.

* The Legislature passed a bill that exempted from state sales tax all equipment purchased for the center.

These incentives worked - wonderfully - but why stop at Macy's or even the retail distribution trade?

Why not come up with tax policies that apply across the board to all businesses on an equal basis?

If special deals produce success for everybody, fair taxation across the board would accomplish even more.


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