Property Taxes Targeted In W.V. Gov Race

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia's major party candidates for governor have both campaigned against non-real estate property taxes. But each faces a major hurdle to following through: the state constitution.

Republican Bill Maloney and the Democrat, acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, have each talked about ending property taxes on business inventory. Maloney is a Morgantown business owner, and has also targeted taxes on commercial machinery and equipment.

But the West Virginia Constitution tightly controls how the state taxes both real estate and such other property as equipment and vehicles. Voters would have to approve cutting or repealing property taxes.

Before winning election to the U.S. Senate last year, then-Gov. Joe Manchin unsuccessfully proposed such an amendment. But he did win a credit that has saved businesses at least $3 million from inventory taxes.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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