CHARLESTON — One of the nation’s largest unions representing teachers has spent nearly $1 million on television ads opposing two constitutional amendments on the ballot in West Virginia with a week to go until Election Day.

The National Education Association has lost more than $860,000 since the last week of September on ads on nearly every major market television station in West Virginia, according to a review of political records provided by television stations to the Federal Communications Committee.

The NEA’s announcement opposes Amendment 2, which would allow the West Virginia Legislature to exempt six categories of taxes on tangible personal property – including taxes on machinery and equipment, inventory and motor vehicles – if voters approve the amendment. County and city governments depend on tangible revenue from property taxes, as do county school systems.

Amendment 4 would give the Legislature the power to approve, modify, or reject rules and policies developed by the Department of Education and approved by the state Board of Education. The State Board of Education is the only state agency that does not have to submit its rules to the Legislature for approval.

Both amendments are opposed by the state’s two teachers’ unions: the NEA-affiliated West Virginia Education Association and the West Virginia Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, as well as the West Virginia School Service Personnel. Association.

Unions oppose Amendment 2 due to concerns about how lawmakers would replace lost tax revenue, although the state Constitution requires the legislature to fill local tax revenue shortfalls for state school systems. counties. Their opposition to Amendments 2 and 4 relates to removing control – counties taking local control over tax revenues and concerns about the politicization of education policy-making.

“Decisions about local communities should be made by our local communities,” said several people in the NEA ad representing law enforcement, first responders, teachers and the elderly. “Amendments 2 and 4 will take decisions away from people we trust and give them to partisan politicians to advance their own agenda.”

Most groups spending money on TV ads focus on Amendment 2, which pitted Republican lawmakers — most of whom support eliminating bodily property taxes — against Gov. Jim Justice — who passed from support for deletion to opposition to amendment 2 – against each other.

A group with ties to the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the West Virginia Manufacturers Association came in far behind buying NEA television ads. “Make West Virginia First” dropped more than $224,000 on pro-Amendment 2 TV ads focused on the Charleston and Beckley media markets.

“It’s time to cut taxes in West Virginia”, said the participants in the video. “Without Amendment 2, the car tax is here to stay. A yes vote means we can end the car tax in West Virginia.

Another group, the West Virginia Job Creators Alliance, spent $19,890 on pro-Amendment 2 television ads. .Va., is chairman of the group.

A justice-related group spent the third-largest amount on anti-Amendment 2 TV ads. “Save Your Charleston County” spent $134,365 on statewide television commercials. The organization’s president is Byrd White, a longtime friend of Justice and former cabinet secretary of the State Department of Transportation.

White is a former senior vice president of James C. Justice Companies. He was the manager of the Black Knight Country Club at Beckley, formerly owned by Justice. White was also a former member of the Raleigh County Commission. Justice has taken the state by storm to encourage voters to oppose Amendment 2. He will be at the Raleigh County Commission today as part of his anti-Amendment 2 road show.

The West Virginia Association of Counties primarily airs television ads in north-central West Virginia opposing Amendment 2. The organization spent $116,238 on television ads.

Early voting in West Virginia continues through Saturday. Election day is Tuesday, November 8.

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