CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Tuesday he will propose a plan to eliminate a personal property tax on vehicles.
The Republican governor urged voters to reject a proposed constitutional amendment on the same issue next month.
Justice has made trips across the state against Amendment 2, which would eliminate a business and inventory tax along with the vehicle tax. He said passage of the amendment could harm schools, cities and counties that rely on property taxes, give companies large tax breaks and force counties and other entities “to have to come to Charleston to beg for your funding.”
“We don’t need to do that,” Justice said. “Let’s not hoodwink our citizens.”
Justice said state Senate leaders behind the constitutional amendment are “using the car tax as bait. Don’t take it. They’re trying to pull off a fast one on you.”
Justice said his plan would return $145 million to taxpayers, who would receive a full refund for personal property vehicle taxes starting with their 2022 payments. It would not interfere with property tax revenue streams guaranteed to local governments and school boards, he said.
Later on Tuesday, Democratic leaders said they support eliminating the car tax. But Senate Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin and House Minority Leader Del. Doug Skaff, Jr. said Democrats proposed a similar idea in March 2021, and no action was taken by the governor.
“We are glad Governor Justice is with us in eliminating the car tax,” they said. “Why wait any longer? Let’s do it now. We call on the WVGOP to join us in providing immediate tax relief for the people in a special session.”
According to WalletHub, 23 states and the District of Columbia have no personal property tax on vehicles.