WV Center on Budget and Policy > Blog > Tax and Budget > Eliminating the Personal Property Tax: Part 2 – What’s at Stake for Counties

Eliminating the Personal Property Tax: Part 2 – What’s at Stake for Counties

(continued from Part 1 published 11/28/12)

In FY 2012, the personal property tax produced over an estimated $122 million for the 55 county governments in West Virginia, accounting for more than 30 percent of all county property tax revenue. And since property taxes account for 63 percent of county government revenue, that means the personal property tax accounts for nearly 1/5 of all county government revenue.

However, some counties are much more reliant on personal property tax revenue than others. The table below shows the amount of revenue each county in West Virginia would lose with the elimination of taxes on personal property, and its share of total property tax revenue. As the table shows, in a number of counties, personal property taxes make up more than or close to half of all property tax revenue. Each county would lose, on average, more than $2 million in property tax revenue.

 

County Revenue Lost Share of Total Property Tax Revenue
Barbour $828,945 41%
Berkeley $2,711,613 15%
Boone $6,343,697 54%
Braxton $813,176 36%
Brooke $2,428,044 49%
Cabell $6,935,898 31%
Calhoun $543,677 41%
Clay $557,460 41%
Doddridge $1,336,782 54%
Fayette $3,036,953 33%
Gilmer $1,127,186 47%
Grant $800,960 19%
Greenbrier $1,437,608 21%
Hampshire $664,064 12%
Hancock $1,989,047 39%
Hardy $670,011 18%
Harrison $6,343,546 34%
Jackson $3,114,314 43%
Jefferson $1,438,025 13%
Kanawha $17,997,904 31%
Lewis $1,590,787 37%
Lincoln $1,365,070 41%
Logan $5,973,734 55%
McDowell $3,347,227 30%
Marion $3,057,731 37%
Marshall $1,603,780 30%
Mason $1,947,874 56%
Mercer $1,682,208 24%
Mineral $1,568,444 29%
Mingo $3,075,463 52%
Monongalia $4,463,230 27%
Monroe $305,505 21%
Morgan $338,271 9%
Nicholas $1,747,045 39%
Ohio $2,281,922 27%
Pendleton $245,410 17%
Pleasants $630,480 22%
Pocahontas $335,597 11%
Preston $1,092,046 23%
Putnam $1,874,797 16%
Raleigh $4,732,635 34%
Randolph $1,119,943 25%
Ritchie $1,319,277 43%
Roane $870,455 36%
Summers $212,727 12%
Taylor $738,849 24%
Tucker $546,856 23%
Tyler $792,726 44%
Upshur $1,823,128 42%
Wayne $2,324,380 39%
Webster $597,584 41%
Wetzel $1,207,427 36%
Wirt $227,521 28%
Wood $3,560,720 29%
Wyoming $2,405,357 51%
Total $122,125,113 31.5%

Source: WVCBP analysis of State Tax Dept Data

Approximately $103 million of the $122 million in personal property tax revenue was collected through the county current levy rates, while roughly $19 million was collected through county excess levies.

 Losing such a large chunk of revenue would place county governments throughout the state under an enormous amount of fiscal strain. With local governments limited in what revenue they can raise, counties would struggle to replace the lost revenue. Levy rates on homeowners would certainly have to rise, but even at maximum rates, it is unlikely all the lost revenue could be replaced.  This would threaten the public structures, services, and programs that enhance the quality of life for county residents, as well as the infrastructure provided at the county level that helps businesses thrive and  compete.

 

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