Proposed Constitutional Amendments 2 & 4: What do they mean for education?

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2022 General Election- Proposed Constitutional Amendments on the Ballot Affecting Education

FACT SHEET

Amendment No. 2: Property Tax Modernization Amendment Summary of Purpose

This amendment would give the state legislature the power to provide personal property exemptions for equipment and inventory directly used for business.

Summary of Purpose: “To amend the State Constitution by providing the Legislature with authority to exempt tangible machinery and equipment personal property directly used in business activity and tangible inventory personal property directly used in business activity and personal property tax on motor vehicles from ad valorem property taxation by general law.”

What this means?

Voter approval of this amendment would grant the legislature the authority to bypass the Constitution. It would not automatically end these taxes. What many political insiders believe will happen is that the business inventory tax will quickly be eliminated, benefitting big corporations (many of which are out-of-state) and decimating county budgets.  Another change rumored to be considered to replace personal property tax, if abolished, would be increasing assessments on real estate from 60% to 100% for real estate.

These changes would result in dramatic cuts in public services such as law enforcement, fire protection and ambulance services, local schools, senior services, libraries and more.

Two thirds of the revenue lost by this political power grab would be borne by county school districts.  With no replacement revenue yet proposed, up to an estimated $515 million in property tax revenue could be lost by local governments, including an estimated $340 million from public education.  Of that amount, $205 million would be lost from excess and bond levies. Such funding is unlikely to be made up even if the state does eventually identify replacement revenue for regular property tax cuts.

Local board of education budgets would be forced to cut positions and county-funded benefits like employee dental/optical insurance and levy or bond specific facilities improvements for schools, athletic facilities and more. Students would

For example, the Kanawha County Commission has estimated that the elimination of this local revenue would result in an astounding job loss, including one third of the county’s deputy sheriffs.

Great resources to learn more details about this issue:

https://wvpolicy.org/amendment-one-could-cost-schools-and-local-governments-515-million-take-control-away-from-local-governments-and-voters/

https://wvpolicy.org/proposed-property-tax-amendment-could-jeopardize-local-excess-and-bond-levies/

AFT Position: Oppose

 

Amendment No. 4: Education Accountability Amendment

Summary of Purpose: “The purpose of this amendment is to clarify that the rules and policies promulgated by the State Board of Education, are subject to legislative review, approval, amendment, or rejection.”

This means that any rules created by the West Virginia Board of Education could be overruled or changed by the state legislature.

The Legislature would micromanage and approve all policies, waiver requests, curriculum and other decisions by the state board of education. Additionally, it would affect local boards due to the many local issues that ultimately end up needing state board of education approval. For example, routine waivers for employing a retiree in a content shortage subject area to obtain a certified teacher is a very common practice, would need Legislative approval for each occurrence if this amendment is approved by voters. This amendment is an attempt to usurp the constitutional power of the state board of education, with trickle down effects on county boards of education as well.

AFT Position: Oppose