UPDATE: ( 11:12 P.M. Nov. 8, 2022) – As of 11:12 p.m. Nov. 8, 2022, the Associated Press is calling the race against Amendment 2, saying voters have struck it down at the polls.
CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia’s Amendment 2 is currently failing on the Nov. 8, 2022, ballot as of 11 p.m. Eastern Time, with approximately 64% of the votes that have come in being against the amendment.
Amendment 2 was created to amend Article X of the West Virginia Constitution, which lays out the standards for taxation in the state. Article X currently states that in order for the West Virginia State Legislature to change anything regarding taxes in the state, it must be put to a vote by the general public.
Had it passed, Amendment 2 would have given the legislature the authority to exempt tangible personal property used for business, such as machinery, equipment and inventory, and to exempt the personal property tax on motor vehicles. However, this would not have immediately removed the taxes as the legislature would have had to make that decision.
Leading up to the election, Amendment 2 became a controversial talking point, with West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (R and State Senate President Craig Blair (R-Berkeley) on opposing sides of the argument.
The governor, a strong opponent of the amendment, claimed the State Senate was using the appeal of a potential car tax repeal as “vote buying,” and even proposed his own bill to get rid of the state’s car tax without a constitutional amendment in the form of a rebate for the car tax from the state’s general revenue fund.
“We can say whatever we want to say. We’re not here to throw mud. You know, we’ve got work to do. But the people have spoken and we need to listen to the people. You know what? It really boils right down to it. The legislature, this idea of, you know, just plowing off on your own and everything they wanted the people to vote or the people vote and they should listen,” Justice said on election night as the results came in.
Other opponents have said they were concerned about possible cuts elsewhere, such as education or county funding, had the amendment passed. Amid those pre-election concerns, Blair promised that school funding from the state would not have received a budget cut.
Backers of the amendment, however, have said should the car tax have been repealed, it would have been a relief for car owners who say they could have used that money for other expenses. According to the West Virginia State Chamber of Commerce, the average vehicle tax in West Virginia is about $220 dollars each year.