CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice says he is proposing legislation to eliminate the state’s car tax without amending the State Constitution.

The bill, called the “Car and All Vehicle Tax Elimination and Protection of Local Government Act,” would give all West Virginians who own a vehicle a full dollar-for-dollar refund for personal property taxes paid to county sheriff’s beginning in 2022, according to the governor. Justice says the refundable credit would come from the general revenue fund and would have no impact on the property tax revenue streams to local governments and school boards.

Justice says the bill, if passed, is estimated to return approximately $145 million to West Virginia tax payers.

“My plan guarantees that our local first responders, counties, cities and school boards will be able to keep their constitutionally guaranteed revenue while at the same time it allows West Virginia tax payers to share in this historic surplus,” Justice said.

The governor says the bill is an alternative to the car tax repeal that is connected to Amendment 2. Justice has been vocal in his opposition to Amendment 2 and has called the car tax repeal “bait” to buy votes in favor of the amendment.

“We do not need to be hoodwinked here,” Justice said. “We need to vote on the merits.”

Democratic legislators in both the WV House of Delegates and WV State Senate released a statement in support of the governor’s bill.

“Inflation is real. People are hurting now. We fully support eliminating the car tax to help our people. Democrats proposed this idea back in March of 2021. We are glad Governor Justice is with us in eliminating the car tax. 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.”

WV House and Senate democrats

If voters pass Amendment 2 on Election Day, it would give the Legislature authority to act on two key issues.

First, it would allow lawmakers could decide if a tax on business inventory and machinery stays on the books or if it gets repealed. Second, Amendment 2 could also lead to the House and Senate removing the property tax on personal vehicles in the Mountain State.