September 25, 2022
WEST VIRGINIA NEWS
Amendment 2, or the Property Tax Modernization Amendment, will be on the ballot this November for West Virginia voters to consider. If passed, it would amend the constitution to give the state legislature the authority to exempt business machinery and equipment, business inventory, and personal vehicles from property taxation. As such, passage of the amendment would give the legislature control over $515 million of property tax revenue, or 27 percent of total property tax revenue in the state, resulting in the fulfillment of a long-term goal of state legislators to take control of a significant portion of property tax revenue in order to pursue a property tax cut that largely benefits out-of-state businesses.
The proposed exemptions under Amendment 2 would result in local governments losing control over an essential revenue stream. The $515 million in property tax revenue from personal vehicles and business machinery and equipment, business inventory, and other business personal property accounts for up to 37 percent of total property tax revenue in some counties. The loss of this critical revenue will adversely impact the ability of municipalities, county governments, and school districts to provide needed services that benefit all West Virginians, and will likely lead to cuts to services or increased taxes on other parties, like homeowners.
As we approach this fall’s election, public officials across West Virginia are increasingly coming out in opposition to Amendment 2.
Governor Jim Justice was in Wheeling on Friday, September 23rd and voiced his opposition .
“What if I were in Charleston and I came to you and said ‘Give me your wallets, give me all your money, and I promise to give it back?’ And I’m a politician. Is that what you really want to do?” Justice asked. “If you vote for Amendment 2, that is exactly what you are doing."
“We can’t be this dumb. We just cannot be this dumb to do this.”
Justice stated that he would “benefit by millions” if the machinery and equipment tax were eliminated.
“But, you see, I never signed off on that. I signed on for you. At the end of the day, the machine and inventory tax has nothing to do with you," he said.