- 7th 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.
First and foremost, I support passage of the amendment to allow the Legislature to consider eliminating the personal property tax. Second, as a future key member of the State Senate, I will work with the Governor, State Senate leadership, and key community stakeholders to eliminate the personal property tax in a manner that is beneficial to the long term growth of business in West Virginia, our counties and our municipalities. I will not be a blank check to eliminate the personal property tax without a proven long-term plan that works.
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?
Workforce; education; broadband connectivity; and tax/regulatory burden are the greatest challenges to business growth. Business growth will lead to population gains. We are in a crisis in West Virginia. We may have put some “lipstick” on but we have real substantive challenges. Our workforce participation rate is staggeringly low; educational attainment is poor; and the job skill levels of our people are not good. Incremental change is the enemy. We need to swing for the fences.
3) What should the State be doing to provide more support and assistance to its Capitol City Area?
It is not the sole burden of the State to “build” the Capitol City Area. Rather, we must have a shared burden with local government, local leaders, business and industry. As a State Senator, I plan to commence periodic meetings with community leaders and stakeholders throughout the greater Kanawha Valley. Our partnerships and commitment to shared success are the keys to a more prosperous region. We are too small to win individually. We need to work together and think differently. We need to expect more. Our goal must be to build a “greater opportunity for upward mobility.”