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Mon school board gets educated on Amendment 2

Amendment 2 is going to generate lots of math homework — anywhere from $17 million to $18 million a year, in fact — for the Monongalia County Board of Education if the proposed legislation passes in November.

Mark Musick told BOE members that in so many words Tuesday night.

Musick who is Mon’s tax assessor, came out to the meeting to talk about some of the dollar signs tied to the other side of the ledger for the plan, known formally as the Property Tax Modernization Amendment.

The idea is that Amendment 2 would cut a statewide swath, freeing up a state and its counties, all different from one another in varying economic scale, from taxes on business inventory and related expenses.

Such taxes, proponents say, are among the longstanding economic obstacles to a state that traditionally finishes last or near-last on nationwide economic benchmark measures.

Meanwhile, in Monongalia County, the school system fares better than numbers of other public districts in the state — precisely because of tax revenue delivered, in effect, by residents at the polls.

Voters here traditionally say yes to an excess levy for education that brings in more than $30 million in additional monies to county schools.

The offering allows the district to regularly upgrade its facilities while bolstering course offerings, which include advance placement classes for the college-bound high-schoolers and conversational Mandarin for the middle school set.

Meanwhile, Amendment 2 would put an all-at-once dent in the local coffers, taking upwards of $25 million a year away from Mon, along the $18 million, or so, from the school system.

While that’s a hit, there could be a happy, bullish ending to it all, those in support of Amendment 2, have said.

Less taxes, they say, means more doors and more businesses coming in for a more conducive climate for economic growth.

Can such a thing happen in the Mountain State?

BOE member Nancy Walker wasn’t so sure.

She was thinking more about making up losses, opposed to generating a profit.

Especially, she said, since it will be incumbent upon local elected officials and state lawmakers to make up any monies lost on a down year — or if development isn’t spun at all, should the amendment be voted in.

The BOE could up the rate on the education levy, which it doesn’t want to do, she said.

Its current rates are locked in by statute until 2027 anyway, she said.

“I think your numbers are pretty jarring and I have no reason to think they aren’t accurate,” Walker told Musick.

“You’d like to think that if it became obvious they [the legislators] couldn’t backfill it, that they would not enact it,” she continued.

“But we all know it’s pretty hard to go back, once you’ve done something.”

Musick, meanwhile, wants voters to do something before they go to the polls in coming days.

He wants voters educated on all the particulars of Amendment 2, he said.

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