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Lawmaker Off-Base On User Fee Exemption

Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott is correct in his assessment of legislation being pushed by Delegate Brandon Steele, R-Raleigh, to exempt state workers from paying municipal user fees.

“… To me, legislation like this is just one more way for politicians in Charleston to tell Wheeling what it can and cannot do in one breath while extolling the virtues of decentralized government in another,” Elliott told our reporter.

The measure, House Bill 2256, would prohibit cities from imposing user fees on employees of state government agencies. If approved, the bill would cost Wheeling about $30,000 annually.

Other cities would see a more significant hit, with Charleston potentially losing $1 million and Morgantown, $1.3 million.

We continue to have our issues with the user fee and the burden it places on some members of our community. That hasn’t changed.

But exempting a certain class of workers simply because the Legislature deems it so while the rest of us pay the fee? Well, that’s plain wrong.

Lawmakers in the past decade have slowly loosened Charleston’s grip on power in this state, allowing cities some semblance of home rule. Now is not the time to move backward. We call on state lawmakers to allow HB 2256 to wither on the vine, so to speak. It deserves no movement this session — or any other.

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