CHARLESTON – The Delegates from Fayette County worked together today to ensure that legislation asking state voters to allow the Boy Scouts certain for-profit activities also includes protections for local businesses.
“We are very excited about the continued development of the Boy Scout adventure camp, which holds great economic and tourism potential for Southern West Virginia,” Delegate David Perry said. “But we were concerned that a tax-exempt entity like the Boy Scouts could profit at the expense of our local businesses.”
House Joint Resolution 108 proposes an amendment to the West Virginia Constitution to be considered at the 2014 general election to exempt property owned by certain nonprofit youth organizations leased or used to generate revenue for the organization from property taxes.
Delegates Perry and Margaret Staggers offered an amendment, which Delegate John Pino strongly supported, that would delay implementation of the tax exemption until the Legislature can adopt laws to protect local and regional businesses from unreasonable losses.
“We want to protect local businesses that could be in competition with the business activities that the Boy Scouts might undertake,” Staggers said. “It would be unfair to allow the operations of the Boy Scouts to directly compete with local businesses, since the Boy Scouts are tax exempt.”
The amendment, which was approved by the House, stipulates that the tax exemption will not take effect until the Legislature adopts enabling legislation.
“The amendment also requires that the Legislature put in code limitations and conditions for the use of a tax-exempt facility that protects local and regional businesses from unfair competition,” Pino noted.
HJR108 passed the House 94-2 and was sent to the Senate for consideration.