- 53rd District
1) If Amendment 2, “Property Tax Modernization Amendment”, on the General Election ballot passes in November, would you support eliminating the inventory tax and exempting tangible machinery and equipment directly used in business activity from personal property taxes? If so, how should the State assist counties and municipalities with the lost revenue that would come from the Legislature changing the tax code? If you do not support amending these taxes, please explain why.
Yes. One proposal is for the state to send the functional equivalent of a block grant to the counties. The amount would be based on the highest amount of revenue a county receives from the past 5 years. So, for example, if the highest amount a county received from the inventory tax was $5,000,000, this is how much would be granted to the county. Doing this would ensure county budgets are made whole. The state would bear the cost of this lost revenue. We have enough in surplus to ensure other taxes would not have to be raised into the near future because of existing surpluses.
2) What do you believe are the biggest issues hindering business and population growth in West Virginia, and what could the Legislature do to address these challenges?
A common theme on reforms in recent years has been ensuring West Virginia is not at “the bottom” in relevant categories. For example, we’ve reformed our workers’ compensation system in a way that we have one of the best systems in the country rather than one of the worst. We’ve done a decent job in recent years listening to what the business community believes are positive reforms. The biggest hindrance to business and population growth are a workforce without relevant skills and gimmick policies the market can read as not pro-growth.
3) What should the State be doing to provide more support and assistance to its Capitol City Area?
We need to be working more closely with our vocational programs and community colleges to ensure skills are being taught that are relevant to local employers. It’s important to focus on how to improve the lives of our students. Also important is determining how schools can benefit the business community (in particular small businesses). Stronger, more competitive businesses improve the lives of everyone in our community.