CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A resolution that would set up a November vote on a plan involving the Boy Scouts passed the House of Delegates Wednesday.

The proposed amendment to the state Constitution would give certain tax breaks to the Boy Scouts of America’s Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Fayette County. The organization says it wants to make the facility available to community events but it doesn’t want to jeopardize its tax-exempt status.

Del. Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, argued against the proposed resolution before the House. She said she’s glad the Boy Scouts chose Fayette County for its large facility but this proposal goes too far.

“It’s bad public policy to pass this tax break when we have huge budget deficits,” Fleischauer said.

The delegate added the proposal is unfair to other non-profit groups who don’t have the same tax breaks and to aspiring businesses that may want to develop near the Bechtel site.

But House Judiciary Committee Chair Tim Manchin, D-Marion, said all the resolution does is give state residents an opportunity to vote on the proposed constitutional amendment in November. He added state leaders have been working with the Boy Scouts and the legislature will ultimately determine the allowable uses of the Summit property.

“Those safeguards that we have implemented—I think we’re protecting the community, I think we’re protecting the state and I think it’s up to the voters to decide on whether they want to go forward and how important this is,” Manchin said.

The BSA’s National Jamboree was held at the site last summer and drew thousands of Boy Scouts from across the country and many of their family members visited West Virginia. House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, said that was just a taste of what’s to come.

“The actual economic development that would occur downstream from this is going to be tremendous for West Virginia,” Armstead said.

The proposed resolution now goes to the Senate to consider during the last few days of the legislative session.

 

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Comments

  • Walt

    While I appreciate having the BS of A in West Virginia, we should not give an unfair advantage to them. This is a legislative matter that should be settled through debate heavily tempered with fairness and equality. This should not be a ballot initiative.

  • rick b

    The 92 legislators who voted to put this before a vote are clearly not expressing the view of their constituents and should be voted out of their job. A non-profit does not make profits. Why would we as a state re-write our constitution to accomodate the boy scouts. I wonder who the boy scouts have as their lobbier in WV. No way should this law be passed and allow the BSA the "privilege" of being a non-profit and lease for profit land that they pay no taxes on. If nobody else does it I wll creaqte a petition to stop this law befor it hits the books. My applause to those boy scout fans who wrote in on this subject,

  • The bookman

    I am so glad to not live on Morgantown anymore. It is nice to wake up every morning and know Barbara Evans Fleischauer doesn't speak for me.

  • mamasita

    My son was lucky enough to attend Jamboree last summer, and just raved about the facilities. Photos from the event made it look incredible. I would love to be able to attend a private event there - willing to pay up. Pass the exemption!

    • Walt

      Fine as long as they lose tax exempt status. If you're willing to pay up, so should they.

  • ThatGuyOverThere

    I still have a bad taste in my mouth over that boyscout camp...I worked on it back in the first stages of it's existance. while i agree that the land has been improved from what it was, the DEP, the National Park Service hav given the BSA a free license to pollute Dunlop Creek with as much sediment control as they want because when the site was designed the stormwater controls were inadequate, poorly designed, and they were not followed through with from design through the build stage. Every time you get a good rain in the area, Dunop turns a shade or brown that resembles chocolate milk, essentially choking out all the insect life in the creek, which is having huge affects on the quality of life for all the other critters in the creek. They destroyed a couple hundred acres of wetland, destroyed the largest beaver dam i have ever seen, and the list goes on. I really don't like that place.

    • David Kennedy

      I had to laugh at your very weak argument...
      so Dunlop Creek is chocolate brown after a rainstorm? DUH !!
      ALL the creeks in WV are a chocolate brown after a rainstorm.
      As for that water killing off the 'Black flies...I'm all for that one too...
      Got anything else...???

      • Robertt

        Yes, humans such an intrusion on nature

      • Greg

        I'm with you on the black flies.

    • ThatGuyOverThere

      You people ate outside your mind...The point is, if this was you or me, and we did a mass grading project on our own property and we didn't contain the stormwater and impacted an entire watershed such as Dunlop creek (Category B-2 Trout Waters) we would get the crap fined out of us by the DEP, EPA, etc. The BSA project got a free pass from every agency that is supposed to protect the environment...Where did you come up with "Black Flies" I said nothign about black flies...The only good thing about that place is that the BSA cleaned up all the trash that was all over the 10,400 acres of that place...

  • wv4evah

    Jamboree = convention, albeit with less booze.

    I'll admit: I don't know the details of current law, or of the proposed changes. This article doesn't go deep.

    But it would seem preferable to steer an amount equal to the tax break to state and local organizations that lure big events to all parts of West Virginia, for the good of the entire state, rather than to try to amend the State Constitution for the benefit of a one-time event.

    What happens when another group considers holding a convention in West Virginia, and demands a similar tax break?

    And just askin': How much does it cost taxpayers to go through the process of amending the State Constitution?

  • David Kennedy

    32 States competed for the Boy Scout's new 500 million dollar project. For years. the huge gatherings were held at Camp A.P. Hill in Virginia. (I've been there)
    It is awe inspiring to see 75,000 young boys and their committed leaders gathered from all over this country to uphold the principles of leadership, skill, worship of God and self improvement.
    This gathering site will be international, as International Jamborees are also scheduled to take place.
    It is a treasure, I would hope that every delegate and senator in our legislature visits the Bechtel Reserve.
    Perhaps, Del. Fleischauer would lead that junket. She is invited to do so.
    The money that will come into WV because of this project will be measured in the billions of dollars. It will also give hundreds of thousands of people, who would not visit West Virginia, a chance to see it up close. That will mean future vacations and investments from them.
    Over all, it will be the best of America and the best of the world seeing West Virginia and that is what is wanted.
    West Virginia was chosen for its people, its location, the wilderness beauty, and future potential...We feel that with this incredible investment, other high profile entities will give us consideration.

    • Hurt local business

      How will this affect local business? Will they be competing with local hotels, restaurants, river outfitters, rock climbing outfitters, campgrounds, cabin rentals, zip line operators, mt biking operators? The last Jamboree had little to know effect on local economy, many people / tourists avoided area do to all the hype. Local restaurants stocked up on additional supplies and the predicted surge of business didn't occur. Hotel rooms were plenty , room rates along with local fuel prices skyrocketed thinking of all the business that would be generated. In reality over 750 tour buses delivered scouts to jambo , everything stayed on property and local business actually suffered. I have yet to see any press release stating the cost to tax payers or economic benefit to southern WV. Passing this will not be good for local business, it will create a unfair business climate with the advantage going to BoyScouts. Let them compete on a level playing field and be taxed like all other business! Tax payers have already funded their sewer and water while others areas go without in Fayette County,enough already!

  • Gary Wilson

    BSA isn't getting a new tax break with this. It already is tax exempt.

    The proposal would just allow the BSA is to let other non-tax exempt activities, such as possibly the X-Games, occiasionally use the facility during idle periods without disrupting the existing tax-exempt status of the facility.

    Such activities would be a win-win for both the BSA (from rental fees) AND the local economy from the resulting taxable tourist expenditures.

    Apparently, Del. Fleischauer would rather have the place sit idle and have those tourism visitors, expenditures and sales tax revenues go to other states.

    • Cory Boothe

      Taxable tourist expenditures? These tourists have to spend money before we see that money. As a member of the tourism industry in Fayette County, it simply was not there last jamboree.

      • Gary Wilson

        You're comparing apples and oranges.

        The Scouts are too young to drive and stay on the property during their events. If the site hosted the X-Games or other events like the legislation would then permit, the visiting spectators would be staying in the surrounding towns and not in tents on the property like the Scouts.

        BTW, West Virginia towns also did get 148,800 hours of public service from the Scouts at the Jamboree fixing their facilities.

  • ViennaGuy

    - Del. Barbara Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, argued against the proposed resolution before the House. She said she’s glad the Boy Scouts chose Fayette County for its large facility but this proposal goes too far.

    “It’s bad public policy to pass this tax break when we have huge budget deficits,” Fleischauer said. -

    Delegate Fleischauer, I noticed that you're from Monongalia County. Can you tell us how many tax exemptions WVU gets?

    • flossrancher

      What an ignorant question. WVU gets zero "tax breaks" from the state. The university is a branch of the state, and is not taxed. There's no property tax paid on the Capitol or on the county courthouses, or on the schools, either, and the police don't pay taxes on the fines they collect. Thee DOH doesn't pay taxes on the amount of land covered in roads. These are not tax breaks.

      • ViennaGuy

        WVU is also a non-profit that takes in revenues from facilities use, just like the Boy Scouts want to do - which was my point, and I'm not talking about property taxes.

        Is WVU paying income tax to the state on its beer sales at football games? What about merchandise sales to the public - is income tax paid? What about when Touchdown Terrace facilities are rented out to private groups for gatherings?

        That's where the similarity lies.

  • DWL

    A tax break for the fairy scouts! Scruples & morals be da**ed. Another organization to which GOD was thrown from to satisfy the abnormality of <1% of the population.

    • flossrancher

      "God" was thrown from the BSA? I've been involved in scouting as a boy and a leader for 54 years, and have seen no reference to God either changed or eliminated from the organization. Scouts take an oath to do their duty to God, they live by a 12-point code which includes reverence, and the elective religious medals earned by scouts of the different faiths are considered among the highest achievements possible to any scout. If there's something I've missed, please be more specific. Or if you're just taking out your butt, please stop.

      • DWL

        “Do their duty to God” ? Seeing the bible is God’s book, I guess the fairy scouts evolution, like that of DC mOrOn, coviently overlooked - Genesis 19:1-11, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Judges 19:16-24, 1 Kings 14:24, 1 Kings 15:12, 2 Kings 23:7, Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Timothy 1:8-10, Jude 7. I guess reverence to “GOD’s Words” no long hold meaning with the fairy scouts, as proven in their morality rebuff. I guess my “fart” is better than your head up your butt.

      • DWL

        “Do their duty to God” ? Seeing the bible is God’s book, I guess the fairy scouts evolution, like that of DC communist organizer, conveniently overlooked - Genesis 19:1-11, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Judges 19:16-24, 1 Kings 14:24, 1 Kings 15:12, 2 Kings 23:7, Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Timothy 1:8-10, Jude 7. I guess reverence to “GOD’s Words” no longer hold meaning with the fairy scouts, as proven in their morality rebuff. I guess my “fart” is better than your head up your butt.