FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WBOY) – On Wednesday, the Marion County Commission issued a statement at their meeting about Amendment 2 that voters will see on the ballot in November.
Amendment 2 proposes that 27% of personal property taxes be given to the legislature to control. In turn, it would allow tax cuts to businesses and other areas, and supporters argue it would bring more jobs to West Virginia.
The County Commission stressed that they are not telling voters how to vote but they do have concerns about the amendment.
Commissioners Linda Longstreth and Randy Elliott both said they think this would take money away from county-funded programs since there is no plan for reimbursement of funds that the commission currently gives out to public services.
“This is a constitutional, secure amount of money for the county and our schools. So, we’re trying to say that if you care about your schools, and you care about the functions of fire, police and those types of services that we have, and the EMS, that this isn’t the time to be voting on this amendment,” Longstreth said in the meeting.
“You take 27% of the county’s budget away with no future guarantee that you’re going to give it back to us in some way; what’s that going to lead to?” Commissioner Elliott asked during the meeting. “So, what are we going to do? How are we going to make up that short gap? We’re going to have to figure (out) a way to increase taxes or put tax on something that inevitability is going to be something even worse.”
Commissioner Ernie Vangilder wasn’t in total agreement with his co-commissioners about the negative effects of the amendment.
“I do believe that those tax cuts on personal properties and business would be a viable incentive for other companies to come into West Virginia … I’m not opposed to the amendment, I am opposed in the way which it was presented,” Vangilder said regarding no reimbursement plan being presented with the amendment.
Representatives from the Marion County Public Library and the Fairmont-Marion County Transit Authority also attended the meeting and spoke about their worries about Amendment 2 since they received funds from the county that the legislature would take away.
“My understanding of what the legislature is talking about, although not a firm plan which is sort of that the problem, is that the funds that they would be replacing for the levying agencies which has come to the counties in some kind of block grant and then the counties would divvy it up between the levying agencies,” the Marion County Library representative said.
Commissioner Longstreth urged state legislatures to make a guaranteed plan to give them the funds back that they already get to disperse in their county. State legislatures have proposed with Amendment 2 that they will get those reimbursement funds from the general state fund, but Longstreath was against it.
“The state cannot afford to do that every year,” she said. “You know how their budget is, it goes up, it goes down. We don’t know.”
Commissioners Longstreth and Elliott signed the motion to oppose Amendment 2, while Commissioner Vangilder didn’t sign but stated that he doesn’t fully support it. He called on the legislature to hold a special session before Election Day.