CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice has an ally in the Kanawha County Commission in his opposition to Amendment 2 and Justice took advantage of it during stop at the commission’s Thursday night meeting in Charleston.
Justice, speaking before a commission room full of county first responders, said he can’t say enough how important it is to defeat Amendment 2.
“It’s a big statement to say, this (Amendment 2) is the biggest moment of my governorship, I can promise you that,” Justice said. “Because this…can tear us all to pieces.”
Passage of Amendment 2 would allow the legislature to eliminate personal property taxes including the car tax and taxes paid by businesses. Counties are concerned because the state Constitution currently guarantees them that funding.
Justice has made a couple dozen public appearances in recent weeks, crisscrossing the state, to speak against Amendment 2.
Justice told those at the Kanawha County Courthouse Thursday night that his efforts have educated and turned the tide against the proposal.
“In the beginning they just didn’t know and they were just tricked, hoodwinked, to believe this was nothing than just being about the car tax,” Justice said. “It doesn’t really have anything to do with the car tax but have everything to do with changing the constitution.”
At the same meeting last night, Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper and his fellow commissioners Ben Salango and Lance Wheeler okayed more than $1 million in additional funding to first responders.
Carper said funding can be used for new trucks, hard sections, radios, SCBAs, and more.
“It is the least we can do to compensate you in some small way,” he said.
Commissioner Lance Wheeler said passage of Amendment 2 would hurt first responders.
“The truth is that Amendment 2 can drastically reduce the funding for the counties, our volunteer fire departments, our police officers, our EMTs, our telecommunicators at 911, the list goes on,” Wheeler said.
The commission also passed a resolution declaring the governor’s pet bulldog Babydog an “official search and rescue first responder” for “seeking the truth” about Amendment 2.”
Babydog received a cake.