|Republican lawmakers on opposite sides of local control for cities
By Steven Allen Adams
For the Inter-Mountain
Over the last several years, Republican lawmakers have worked to give cities and towns in West Virginia more local control, but bills being considered this year could tie the hands of city leaders.
The latest example is House Bill2256, passed out of the House Political Subdivisions Committee on Wednesday and sent to the House Finance Committee. The bill would exempt all non-residents of cities from having municipal user fees removed from their paychecks.
Originally intended to just exempt state employees from having user fees removed from their paychecks, the committee approved an amendment from Del. Geoff Foster, R-Putnam, to exclude all non-residents of cities that charge user fees.
Foster was a co-sponsor of HB 2256, and his amendment to the bill incorporates language from two other bills introduced by Foster, House bills 2324 and 2482. In the age of COVID-19 and people often working from home, Foster said those people shouldn’t have to pay for city services they’re not utilizing.
“When you start looking at the idea of taxation without representation, especially during the age of COVID, we have people that aren’t ever in the city anymore,” Foster said. “But because the company they work for happens to be located in the city, they’re being charged $3 a paycheck when they may work three counties over from home. And that’s a big problem to me.”
Others, however, see HB 2256 and other bills as ways for Republican lawmakers to whittle away local control and exercise more authority over cities.
Read Adams’ story in the Inter-Mountain here.