Amendment 2: What You Need To Know


Cardinal Team

On November 8th, 2022, West Virginians will head to the polls to vote for their members of the US House of Representatives and the State Legislature. Nestled under the legislative races are four amendments to the West Virginia Constitution. One of these is Amendment 2: Property Tax Modernization Amendment. This Amendment would allow the West Virginia State Legislature to exempt personal property (machinery, equipment, and inventory) used for business activities and personal motor vehicle tax from ad valorem property taxes.


Legislative Background

On February 11, 2021, Delegate Phillip Mallow (R – Marion, 50) introduced House Joint Resolution 3, Amendment No. 2. HJ Res. 3 was cosponsored by eight members of the House of Delegates. It was passed by the West Virginia State Senate on April 10, 2021, by a vote of 29-5. This amendment’s intent is to give the legislature power to exemption personal property used for business activity from property taxes.

Currently, the West Virginia constitution only allows for exemptions of property used for:

  1.     Educational purposes
  2.     Literary purposes
  3.     Scientific purposes
  4.     Religious or charitable purposes
  5.     All cemeteries
  6.     Public property
  7.     personal property, including:
    1.     livestock, employed exclusively in agriculture as above defined and the products of agriculture as so defined while owned by the producers may by law be exempted from taxation
    2.     household goods to the value of two hundred dollars shall be exempted from taxation

Even though passage of this amendment would add exemptions to the state constitution, it would not nullify the existing laws. Rather, this amendment only gives the legislature the power to exempt the items if they so choose through legislation.


Arguments in Support of Amendment 2

Supporters of this amendment argue that exemptions would help improve economic development. Organizations like the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce support the amendment saying, “We need more jobs in West Virginia. Amendment 2 will help us get there and we need to pass it.” The Chamber also conducted a statewide poll which found broad support for Amendment 2, primarily among Republicans and Independents. The West Virginia Manufactures Association is also in favor of the amendment. The association argues that this amendment will address taxation issues that harm manufacturing jobs.


Arguments in Opposition to Amendment 2

Opposition to this amendment stem from concerns about potential loss of revenue. Two of these organizations are the West Virginia Association of Counties and the County Commissioners Association of West Virginia. These organizations oppose the Amendment because, “Amendment 2 potentially takes so much from our counties before a universally-accepted blueprint is created, and because the legislature is NOT in agreement between their two bodies as to how a new policy would work.” On September 14th the Monongalia County Commission passed a resolution warning that there could be far reaching consequences if this amendment is passed, “not knowing how these dollars… will be made up, causes us pause.” The Kanawha County Commission, the West Virginia Democratic Party, and Governor Jim Justice are also opposed to these amendments.



The polls open on November 8th. It is imperative that West Virginia voters consider their options with these amendments by analyzing the arguments for and against. You can read the full text of the amendments on the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Website.


Andrew Bambrick is the Education Outreach Coordinator for the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy.

Cardinal Team


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