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. A recent article provides further details. Excerpt below:
In November, voters will weigh in on four proposed amendments to the West Virginia Constitution.
Amendment 2, dealing with the Legislature’s authority over certain taxes, has been discussed widely over the past few weeks.
The amendment has drawn criticism, particularly from county and municipal government officials. They say the measure jeopardizes critical revenue streams without a clear indication of how — or even if — those revenues would be replaced.
Revenues from those taxes fund municipalities, counties and local school systems.
Because the amendment only involves giving the Legislature authority to exempt the taxes, there is no set plan in place for how lawmakers will implement the changes.
One of the strongest of these opposing voices comes from the very top level of state government — Gov. Jim Justice.
“We’re taking away an income stream and betting on good times forever and putting at risk our schools, our EMS, our firemen, our police and whatever it may be,” he said. “We have to step back and think about what we are doing.”
The boards of the West Virginia Association of Counties and the County Commissioners Association of West Virginia recently issued a joint press release encouraging residents to reject the amendment.
Read the full article.
Take action to educate your friends and neighbors about how dangerous Amendments 2 and 4 would be for our schools, local public services, and communities. Update your profile picture across your social media platforms to one from our digital toolkit!
Kanawha County friends, let’s gather to take action and stand up for local control, our public schools, and the community services we all rely on.
Amendments 2 and 4 are blatant power grabs that would see local decision making exported to the state legislature. Everything from critical funding for our schools, local libraries, and public safety to keeping politics out of our kids’ classrooms is at stake.
Make your voice heard, and enjoy the company of our community while you’re at it. Food and refreshments will be provided at both events.
The annual Census data was released last week and the WVCBP was thrilled to see that–as a result of enhanced public assistance measures–the child poverty rate, overall poverty rate, and uninsured rate across the country all declined significantly. Our colleagues at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities published a statement further detailing these positive developments. Excerpt below:
Today’s Census figures show government policies prevented massively higher financial hardship and lack of health insurance in 2021, as the nation continued to wrestle with the COVID-19 pandemic and recover from the resulting job loss. The expanded Child Tax Credit alone kept 5.3 million people above the annual poverty line and helped drive a stunning reduction in child poverty to a record low. Poverty overall also reached a record low and the uninsured rate dropped substantially, with Medicaid and Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace coverage reaching or nearing record highs.
In both 2020 and 2021, the federal government provided large-scale assistance to families and individuals in the face of an unprecedented crisis. Strengthened economic and health security policies coupled with a recovering economy and rising employment resulted in historic declines in poverty and boosted health coverage, despite the economic and health crises caused by the pandemic.
The data for 2021 show that the nation knows how to reduce poverty, broaden opportunity, and expand health coverage. Temporary measures drove progress. Policymakers should build on this experience to address the widespread insecurity and inequities that pre-dated the pandemic and will worsen if temporary relief measures aren’t replaced with longer-lasting policy advances.
Read the full statement.
The fourth annual Food for All Summit is a place to learn about the decisions that state and federal policy makers are considering that affect both food access and farm viability. Come learn, build skills, and develop policy-changing ideas!
The event will take place on November 16 from 10am-4pm at the Brushy Fork Event Center (929 Brushy Fork Road, Buckhannon, WV 26201).
Please refer to the event landing page for updates on the event itinerary, speakers, and more. There is no cost to attend. Breakfast and lunch will be provided, but registration is required.
Beginning in July 2021, most households with children had received monthly enhanced Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments of $250- 300 per child. However, the enhanced CTC included in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was temporary and expired at the end of 2021.
The impact on children and families since the expiration of the enhanced CTC has been severe. Between Dec. 2021 and Jan. 2022, there was a staggering 41 percent increase in child poverty nationwide due to the loss of the monthly payments. And as inflation continues to exacerbate family financial hardship, the need to make a robust CTC permanent is as urgent as ever.
Recently, a new proposal to expand the CTC was announced by Senator Mitt Romney. While we are excited to see bipartisan interest in enhancing the credit and while the proposal does improve some elements of the current law, it also has serious shortcomings – primarily, it does not make the full credit available to the lowest-income families (a notable divergence from the now-expired enhanced CTC that was included in the ARPA). Further, it proposes problematic offsets that would prove detrimental to low-income families.
A blog post from our colleagues at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities provides further insight into the proposal’s pros and cons. You can read it here.
The WVCBP’s Elevating the Medicaid Enrollment Experience (EMEE) Voices Project seeks to collect stories from West Virginians who have struggled to access Medicaid across the state. Being conducted in partnership with West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, EMEE Voices will gather insight to inform which Medicaid barriers are most pertinent to West Virginians, specifically people of color.
Do you have a Medicaid experience to share? We’d appreciate your insight. Just fill out the contact form on this webpage and we’ll reach out to you soon. We look forward to learning from you!
You can watch WVCBP’s health policy analyst Rhonda Rogombé and West Virginians for Affordable Health Care’s Mariah Plante further break down the project and its goals in this FB Live.
We have a great newsletter, join below: