Beckley, WV – (WWNR) – The Raleigh County Commission had some special visitors on Tuesday.
Governor Jim Justice and his English Bulldog Babydog attended the Commission’s regular meeting to continue his campaign against Amendment 2 to the West Virginia Constitution.
It would allow the Legislature to exempt personal property taxes on people’s vehicles and also on what businesses pay on their inventory, equipment and machinery. The estimated fiscal impact is $550 million a year.
Justice worries that passing Amendment 2 would make counties completely dependent on lawmakers in providing lost revenue.
“I’m for getting rid of taxes,” said Justice. “That’s not the problem. The problem is just this. If you do this all just what they want to do, and let’s say the utilities qualified for the machinery inventory reduction too, you’re talking about seven or $800 million. Well, you suck that all out of the revenue and then you have any bump in the road, they’re not going to have the money to fund the county. They’re not. Then what are you gonna do? “
Commissioners and county officials also oppose Amendment 2, saying it would take control of revenue out of their hands and give it to Charleston.
“The biggest thing is, we have no control of the money coming in there,” said Commissioner Dave Tolliver. “The Legislature will dictate how much money you will get. That’s why we want to keep everything local. We have full control of the money coming in. We’ve done a great job as far as keeping all the public informed of what we’re doing and why we are against Amendment 2.”
“The state doesn’t know what we do, doesn’t know what we need on a daily basis,” said David Eastridge, Assistant Chief of the Bradley-Prosperity Volunteer Fire Department. “Emergencies are fluid. It’s a lot easier to go to the county than trying to explain to somebody in the state what we need.”
After the Governor’s presentation, attendees got the chance to have their pictures taken with Babydog. Voters will decide on Amendment 2 and three other amendments to the Constitution during West Virginia’s General Election on November 8th.