The idea behind state tax credits is to encourage investment in West Virginia. An effective tax credit program strengthens the state's economy by increasing economic activity in a particular industry, growing employment and enlarging the overall tax base.
It's a reasonable concept - if it works.
The key is knowing whether or not it works.
The West Virginia Legislature took the right step in the 2013 session by removing a two-year-old tax credit on flex-fueled vehicles.
The credit was originally intended to encourage investment in natural gas-fueled vehicles - promoting use of an abundant state resource.
It went sour when other types of fuel, primarily ethanol and gasoline mixtures, were added. Use of those additional fuels bring little or no additional economic benefit to West Virginia.
And the broad nature of the tax credit produced a shortfall in automobile sales tax revenues that may ultimately total as much as $100 million.
A state facing another possible $250 million budget gap doesn't need that.