By Adam Pack
Governor Jim Justice and members of his revenue office held a Community Conversation on Monday, Oct. 3 at the Lewisburg City Hall to discuss an upcoming ballot initiative before West Virginia voters this November. The initiative in question would be a yes or no vote on Amendment 2. Amendment 2 is an amendment to the West Virginia constitution regarding the taxing of personal property. The language of the amendment as it will appear before voters, per the legislature’s website: “To amend the State Constitution by providing the Legislature with authority to exempt tangible machinery and equipment personal property directly used in business activity and tangible inventory personal property directly used in business activity and personal property tax on motor vehicles from ad valorem property taxation by general law.”
Justice and members of his revenue office, however, have major issues with the proposed amendment. West Virginia’s Secretary of Revenue, Dave Hardy, spoke to members of the public. “If this amendment passes, then local control over local taxes and that money will go from your city councils and your county commission and go to Charleston, West Virginia, all for the promise that they’ll give it back.”
Justice added, “I want to help y’all out. This Amendment, honestly, is going to help me a ton. It’ll reduce taxes on inventory and heavy machinery and me and my family will do great. But Toby and Edith and all of y’all that draw a check, y’all aren’t gonna see hardly anything from this.” Justice went on to say that certain members of the legislature are touting the elimination of vehicle taxes as a way of “just buying votes,” and that those same members are “wedded to these votes, because they’ve already received the donations, and the contributions, and made the promises.”
This round of talks followed several other events like it around the state as the Governor has urged others to vote no on Amendment 2.