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Tinkering with home rule brings needless problems

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You have to wonder what members of the House of Delegates and state Senate are thinking when they go about their business. The recent legislative session was another in a long line of lackluster gatherings that yielded very little in the way of positive impact. As the dust settles, only now are we finding out the ramifications of legislation that made it to the governor's desk. The changes to the home rule pilot program are already causing headaches for some cities, including Charleston.

Mayor Danny Jones announced earlier this year that he wanted to roll back the B&O tax and eliminate the tax for manufactures. It was a good plan that would encourage investment and decrease the tax burden on businesses.  Now, everything is on hold because it appears that there is a provision in the home rule bill that specifically neuters a city's ability to revise major sections of its tax code.

Home rule is an idea we must continue exploring. The current pilot program has shown some promise and cities were just starting to really utilize the tools at their disposal, but legislative tinkering during the session has created tremendous uncertainty. Now, leaders in Charleston and in city halls across the state have to try and make sense of it. This is another sad example of how our state legislature is completely disconnected from reality.