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Bill would allow those who pay user fees in West Virginia cities to vote in city elections


Charleston Gazette-Mail

Del. Gary Howell, R-Mineral

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill introduced in the state House of Delegates would allow people who pay a user fee in a certain city to vote in that city’s municipal elections.

House Bill 4041 has been dubbed the “Taxation without Representation Act.”

At least six West Virginia cities charge user fees to people who work within their limits, whether or not they also live there. The city of Charleston, for example, charges workers $3 per week. The fee goes toward police protection and roads.

Lead sponsor Delegate Gary Howell, R-Mineral, a member of the House’s Home Rule committee, said the fees are a tax. Without the ability to vote in city elections, Howell argued, people are taxed without representation.

“It’s really no different than one of the causes of the American Revolution,” Howell said. “We complained that, ‘Hey, England, you’re taxing us, and we have no representation — taxation without representation.’

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