BECKLEY, W.Va., April 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Sen. Jeff Kessler, a Democratic candidate for governor, called today for fellow candidate Jim Justice to pay millions of dollars in delinquent property taxes for his businesses if he wants to show that education is a priority. Kessler's call comes one day after Justice began an education listening tour in Beckley even though about 75 percent of his companies' delinquent taxes would go to support public education.
"If Jim Justice truly values education, he should first go to the courthouses across this state where he or his companies have delinquent property taxes and pay those taxes before holding any more education listening sessions," Kessler said. "Hundreds of teachers and service personnel are being laid off in West Virginia, and education programs are being cut across the state. Some of these cuts might be softened if these taxes were paid. Especially in a year when the governor already has imposed a mid-year cut in state support for education, Justice needs to step up."
Kessler believes that past actions by individuals are the best indicators of their future actions, so if education is a priority for Justice, he would have his companies pay their property taxes on time, allowing school districts to have funds on hand to support students and teachers. Justice once served on the Raleigh County Board of Education, so he should understand the importance of property taxes to education, but his actions don't indicate that.
Justice's problems with paying taxes have been documented well. One of the most recent articles on that subject appeared last week in the Charleston Gazette-Mail and is available at: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/20160414/jim-justice-companies-delinquent-on-39m-in-2015-property-taxes.
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SOURCE Sen. Jeff Kessler