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Justice Floats Rebate Plan On Vehicle Tax

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WV Governor's Office
Gov. Jim Justice said he’s working on a way for vehicle tax relief without a constitutional change — by possibly offering a taxpayer rebate.

Republicans in the West Virginia Legislature are promoting Amendment 2 to the state constitution. If passed, it would allow them to change or eliminate property taxes in the state. One tax they propose to eliminate is the state vehicle tax.

Gov. Jim Justice is actively campaigning against Amendment 2 around the state and has now said he is working on a new plan to eliminate the state vehicle tax without the constitutional amendment.

In his Thursday coronavirus media briefing, Justice said he’s working on a way for vehicle tax relief without a constitutional change — by possibly offering a taxpayer rebate.

”I'm not sure exactly right now how to do it,” Justice said. “Our revenue people are working on a methodology and a way to do it. Am I for getting rid of the car tax, absolutely.”

Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, has said he appreciates the governor’s call to eliminate the state vehicle tax, but added that Amendment 2 needs to pass for legislators to constitutionally consider the tax cut. He responded to the rebate plan by accusing Justice of creating more government.

“For a person who is going around the state saying the Senate wants to put all of the control in Charleston, his plan sure sounds like a heavy dose of top-down Charleston control,” Blair said. “We don’t need to put the burden on our own taxpayers to fill out additional red tape and wait around for Charleston to send them back their money.”

Legislative leadership also wants to use Amendment 2 to remove the business and inventory tax. Justice said removing that tax would cripple county government schools and services.

Justice also said in the briefing that if Amendment 2 fails, he would work with legislators on a compromise amendment going forward.

Government Reporter, ryohe@wvpublic.org, 304-634-8123

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