By voting for Amendment 2 on November 8, you will provide a path for the Legislature to reduce your taxes. Voting for Amendment 2 would allow the Legislature to eliminate the annual tax paid on cars, trucks and ATVs. For businesses, it means not having to pay yearly for the same piece of equipment and for the inventory on its shelves — taxes that seem to penalize investment in West Virginia.
Gov. Jim Justice now wants to keep those taxes, ignoring his past statements on the issue and the considerable savings to West Virginia consumers.
Governor Justice perhaps has forgotten that his administration attracted “big, big companies” to come to the state by allowing them special relief from machinery and inventory taxes. Where was the governor’s concern about large corporations when he was crowing about enticing them to locate in the state? Those same benefits should be available to other West Virginia businesses.
The governor may also have forgotten his past strong support for getting rid of the machinery and inventory tax. In his 2018 State of the State Address, he announced his “Just Cut Taxes and Win” plan and said, “(w)hat I want to start with is the elimination of the tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment and manufacturing inventory.”
In his 2019 State of the State Address: “Today, I’m requesting the elimination of the business inventory machinery tax. Since the first day I came, I’m a business guy.”
And in 2020 State of the State Address: “The business inventory and machinery tax is holding us back in some areas. We need to try to find a solution to where we can … get on a glide path … to eliminate that tax if we can.”
The governor needs to be reminded who pays those taxes. If you own a car, truck, boat or ATV, it’s you. It is the small store owner who has to pay inventory tax because products remain on her shelves overnight from June 30 to July 1. With the additional cost, many pass this new cost on to you, the consumer. And it’s the hundreds of manufacturers in the state, most of them small businesses that produce everything from paper to potato chips with the machinery and equipment they bought years ago and are still paying personal property taxes for the privilege of using.
Don’t be fooled by the politics at play. Vote yes for Amendment 2. Vote to put more money back in your pocket.
Woody Thrasher is chairman at the Thrasher Group, headquartered in Bridgeport, West Virginia, with multiple locations in the mid-Atlantic region.