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, county commissions are increasingly coming out in public opposition to Amendment 2. This week, two organizations representing county officials statewide followed suit. A recent article provides further details. Excerpt below:
Two associations representing elected county officials in West Virginia have officially come out against a proposed constitutional amendment that would give the Legislature power to change property tax rates.
“We respectfully ask the voters to reject Amendment 2,” the groups stated.
Property taxes are a main piece of how counties pay for services like school systems, ambulance services, libraries and more. Members of the two associations have been publicly wary of the proposed amendment but haven’t taken an official position until now.
Their opposition comes shortly after comments by Gov. Jim Justice, who questioned whether the change would be wise. Senate leaders and groups like the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the West Virginia Manufacturers Association have been vocally supportive of the property tax change.
On Wednesday, boards of the West Virginia Association of Counties and the County Commissioners Association of West Virginia voted to oppose Amendment 2, the “Property Tax Modernization Amendment.” The first group represents county assessors, circuit clerks, county clerks, prosecutors and sheriffs.
The groups cited loss of authority over about $550 million in “dedicated, constitutionally-protected revenues” — and “handing that money to the Legislature.”
And the groups cited “the fact that no certain, agreed-to plan between the House and Senate was presented that dedicates a revenue stream that solely backfills the $550 million to counties, and instead is subject to the pressures and competing interests of a general revenue outlay. Counties MUST have a protected, dedicated funding source that grows with economy, and no such plan exists today.”
Read the full article.
Kanawha County and Monongalia 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.
Kanawha County event details
Monongalia County event details:
On election day, West Virginians will vote on Amendment 2, which would give the state legislature control of $515 million in property taxes that fund our schools and communities. State legislators have already said they plan to use that control to give corporations–many of them located outside of West Virginia–a big tax cut. But what does that mean for our communities, our schools, our local businesses, our parks and libraries?
The WVCBP will be hosting two information sessions in the coming weeks (in Cabell and Wood counties, respectively) to share more about Amendment 2, its potential consequences for our communities, and how you can get involved to make sure your friends, family, and peers know what’s at stake.
Cabell County: Please plan to join us on Thursday, September 15 from 6-8pm at the Cabell County 4-H Camp. You can find the Facebook event here.
Wood County: Please plan to join us on Monday, September 19 from 6-8pm at the Judge Donald F. Black Courthouse Annex. You can find the Facebook event here.
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.
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