Opposing sides meet to discuss Amendment Two
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Amendment Two — or the property tax modernization amendment — would give the West Virginia legislature authority to reduce or eliminate six categories of tangible personal property taxes.
Some of these include: machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures and motor vehicles.
The side who is in favor of the amendment say that the bill will be vital in providing more jobs to the manufacturing industry.
“Now, in West Virginia, we want to grow the economy. We want more people to have good places to work,” says W.Va. Chamber of Commerce president, Steve Roberts. “This tax is keeping some of our most important businesses from being able to reinvest in West Virginia. Because it’s a tax on the equipment that you invest in to manufacture and make things for the future.”
Another supporter says this will encourage people to stay in West Virginia.
West Virginia Manufacturers Association president, Rebecca McPhail says, “I do think that bringing that element, more of that manufacturing to our economy in West Virginia can help us reverse that population loss and keep our young people here.”
Not everyone is for this. West Virginia governor Jim Justice is against it. He says he thinks the amendment will negatively affect public education, local government and law enforcement.
“Really and truly, at the end of the day, you’re looking at law enforcement, EMT’s, firemen and whatever it maybe; schools. All these functions that counties do today, all that function is moving to Charleston,” says Justice. “Then it’s just going to be services cut all over the place. And there will be a lot of people hurt.”
Justice also says that this amendment will mostly help big businesses and the wealthy by giving them a tax break. He says that is not what he wants to do.
“At the end of the day, the big corporations will benefit from a machine and inventory tax going away,” says Justice. “But I am for the guys and the girls that are getting their dinner bucket and going there every day. I’m going to stand rock solid there and we need to help them. And this doesn’t help them.”
The measure would amend Section 1 of Article X of the West Virginia constitution:
Subject to the exceptions in this section contained, taxation shall be equal and uniform throughout the state, and all property, both real and personal, shall be taxed in proportion to its value to be ascertained as directed by law. No one species of property from which a tax may be collected shall be taxed higher than any other species of property of equal value; except that the aggregate of taxes assessed in any one year upon personal property employed exclusively in agriculture, including horticulture and grazing, products of agriculture as above defined, including livestock, while owned by the producer, and money, notes, bonds, bills and accounts receivable, stocks and other similar intangible personal property shall not exceed fifty cents on each one hundred dollars of value thereon and upon all property owned, used and occupied by the owner thereof exclusively for residential purposes and upon farms occupied and cultivated by their owners or bona fide tenants, one dollar; and upon all other property situated outside of municipalities, one dollar and fifty cents; and upon all other property situated within municipalities, two dollars; and the Legislature shall further provide by general law for increasing the maximum rates, authorized to be fixed, by the different levying bodies upon all classes of property, by submitting the question to the voters of the taxing units affected, but no increase shall be effective unless at least sixty percent of the qualified voters shall favor such increase, and such increase shall not continue for a longer period than three years at any one time, and shall never exceed by more than fifty percent the maximum rate herein provided and prescribed by law; and the revenue derived from this source shall be apportioned by the Legislature among the levying units of the state in proportion to the levy laid in said units upon real and other personal property; but property used for educational, literary, scientific, religious or charitable purposes, all cemeteries, public property, tangible machinery and equipment personal property directly used in business activity, tangible inventory personal property directly used in business activity, personal property tax on motor vehicles, the personal property, including livestock, employed exclusively in agriculture as above defined and the products of agriculture as so defined while owned by the producers may by law be exempted from taxation; household goods to the value of two hundred dollars shall be exempted from taxation. The Legislature shall have authority to tax privileges, franchises, and incomes of persons and corporations and to classify and graduate the tax on all incomes according to the amount thereof and to exempt from taxation incomes below a minimum to be fixed from time to time, and such revenues as may be derived from such tax may be appropriated as the Legislature may provide. After the year nineteen hundred thirty-three, the rate of the state tax upon property shall not exceed one cent upon the hundred dollars valuation, except to pay the principal and interest of bonded indebtedness of the state now existing.
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