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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
April 17, 2012     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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April 17, 2012

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pirit of JEFFERSON and FA~MF~'S ADVOCATE News ' Wednesday, April 18, 2012 A3 A second person has been arrested in the theft in February of copper ma- terials from HVAC units on the roof of South Jefferson Elementary School. Anthony Hoskins, 20, of Harpers Ferry, was arrested April 10 at a residence in Willowbrook subdivision in Charles Town. He was charged with grand larceny, a felony, and destruction of property. Last month, Jefferson County sheriff's deputies arrested Gary Heflin, Jr. at his home in Harpers Ferry. MARI.~, PISClO'r'rA Spirit Staff CHARLES TOWN -- Jefferson County Sheriff deputies have made a second arrest in the theft of cop- per materials at South Jefferson El- ementary School, which occurred in February. Anthony Hoskins, 20, of Harp- ers Ferry, was arrested April 10 at a residence in Wdlowbrook subdivi- sion in Charles Town. "We received an anonymous tip Tuesday that Hoskins was at a friends house. Sheriff traits re- sponded and he was arrested with- out incident," said Detective Steven Holz. Holtz said Cpl. Ben Williams interviewed Hoskins Tuesday eve- ning and Hoskins admitted to his involvement in the copper theft. Hoskins was charged with grand larceny, a felony, and destruction of property, also a felony, said Holtz. The theft occurred sometime between 10 pan. Feb. 17 and 7 aan. Feb. 18, when thieves stole the copper from nine HVAC units from the top of South Jefferson Elementary School and the top of two classroom trailers. The copper was valued at be- tween $800 and $1,000. The damage to the HVAC equipment was estimated at $300,000. Deputies arrested another sus- pect, Gary Hetlin Jr. at his home in Harpers Ferry in March and charged him with felony destruc- tion of property and grand larce- ny. Heflin posted $25,000 bond at arraignment. According to the siheriff's de- partment, Hoskins has been in Florida and recently returned to Jefferson County. Hoskins is currently being held at the Eastern Regional Jail on $30,000 bond. Police say the investigation is contimfing. Nobody was injured when a north side of the road and went red Ford Fusion crashed into thins over an embankment, crashing into house at 347 W. German St., in the house and coming to rest in a Shepherdstown Sunday moming, bedroom at about 9:24 aan. According to Shepherdstown The house was occupied at the Police, the car, driven by Gene time ofthe crash. Wllhoite was taken Wllhoite, 24, of Virginia, left the to City Hospital in Martinsburg. 67th FROM PAGE A1 Simon said. "I'm running for delegate because people are hurting, and I care about that. People are struggling. It's hard to find a job. And the reason it is hard to find a job is that peo- ple don't want to do business here in West Virginia." Skinner, whose legal practice focuses on civil litigation, said his work has given him an inti- mate familiarity with the West Virginia Code. "I deal with the result of leg- islation every single day. I've been working with the state code for 20 years. I think it is important to understand how the code interplays with the state Const~tion and with state and federal law," Skinner said. "Be- cause I represent people who find themselves in some type of situation where they need to be in a lawsuit, I also get a unique perspective on where the state code can help or hurt." Skinner also emphasizes his efforts to make the East- ern Panhandle's issues heard in Charleston. "I've been active in local and state politics for a while, and I have spent a lot of time at the legislature working on different issues," Skinner said. "I spend a lot of time trying to translate what is going on in Charleston to people in the Eastern Panhan- dle. I think the road both ways. We need to communicate to the rest of the state our issues, and how unique our situation is." Harris, who runs a constrqc- tion company, describes him- self as an "independent Repub- lican," and adds that he dis- agrees with positions held by both parties, but tends to agree more with Republicans than Democrats. "I think we should have less government control and more voice of the people,". Harris said. "I don't believe in government controlling my life, but I believe in individual freedom and individual choice as long as it doesn't hinder an- other person's rights or freedoms." Harris said he was mo- tivated to run because of his op- position to two legislative pro- posals in particular: one which would limit gun purchases to one per month and a second that would impose a tax on In- ternet commerce. Each candidate emphasizes the need for promotion of eco- nomic development through tax reform, though each has a dif- ferent take on what reforms are necessary. Harris argues for elimination of the personal property tax along with impact fees. "Last year we had $54 mil- lion in revenue that was over- taxed to the people of West Vir- ginia, which is unfair. It goes into an escrow account. People are forced to pay taxes in or- der to live here. Why not elim- inate the personal property tax to put more money in people's pockets?" Harris said. "Using the Marcellus Shale - receiv- ing, last time I knew about it, $16 trillion in tax revenue from them - we can easily eliminate the personal property tax." West Virginia collected ap- proximately $182 million in drilling and property taxes from the Marcellus Shale in 2009, the latest year for which data was available, according to the Pennsylvania Budget and Poli- cy Center. Matthew Harris Elliot Simon Stephen Skinner Harris also said he stipports rely on Washington to solve the classifying more spending in problem. We need to be Work- the state budget, ing on ~he. problem here in West Skinner said he would sup- Virginia." port elimination of the B&O tax Simon said he supports elim- as long as the state.could devel- inating two state taxes in order op a substitute revenue stream to promote economic develop- for municipalities, ment: the business property, "I want to make sure that any machinery and inventory tax development we have is sus- and the business franchise tax. tainable, that we're promoting "The property tax on prop- a business environment that erty, machinery and invento- will be enticing new business- ry is a killer because you have es to come. I think a lot of that to pay taxes to West Virginia is simplifying the tax code and before you even have revenue adjusting the tax code," Skin- dollar number one. It increases ner said. the risk for an entrepreneur to "I think that taxes like the come here and start up," Simon B&O tax disincentivize busi- said. nesses from locating in munici- Simon said the business fran- palities in West Virginia. I want chise tax presents a similar dis- to find a solution to eliminate incentive for new companies to the B&O tax and find a way'to locate In the state because it is get revenue from other sources assessed on the overall value of to replace it," Skinner said, add- a company rather than its reve- ing the tax causes "businesses nue or profit. (to) desert the towns, and we "It increases the risk, and end up with these ghost-cities people don't want to do busi- that don't have the tax base to ness where there is a lot of risk. support themselves." So we're not competitive," Si- Skinner also advocates de- mon said. veloping state programs to bet- Simon said the regulatory ter enable homeowners with and legal systems of West Vir- upside-down mortgages to sell ginia also contribute to a lack their homes. "Our folks are hurting in real estate. We've got regular, ev- eryday folks who are under wa- ter on their mortgages," Skin- ner said. "We need to not just of economic development throughout the state. "The permitting pro- cess takes so long. There are places where you can be up and running in a matter of days and here it takes months," Simon said. "I would streamline that process and not make it so onerous." "For I don't know how many years, West Vir- ginia was the dumber one state with regard to being a ju- dicial hellhole," Simon said. "We don't have an intermediate court of appeals, so you don't have a guaranteed right of ap- peal, and you have partisan election of judges." "We are perceived by others to not be as fair as other states and that is a problem because if a business feels that they are more likely to be sued in West Virginia than in Maryland or Virginia, they'll go someplace else," Simon said. Skinner argues that promot- ing businesses and improving the education system are key to attracting business. "I want to make sure thai we are adequately promoting our businesses - especially tour- ism," Skinner said. "We have to figure out fund- ing for public worker salaries..' It is shocking, the disparity in pay for teachers in Jefferson County versus Loudoun Coun- ty versus Frederick County. We are doing ourselves a disservice in terms of economic develop- ment in Jefferson County - at- tracting businesses - if we do not have a stable, profession- al teaching force. And the way to do that is to pay them well," Skinner said. Simon emphasizes the need to rein in the state's debt, which he says many are currently un- derestimating. Published re- ports indicate the state may face around $41 billion in long- term debt. "That is over $22,000 dol- lars for every man, woman and child in the state. That's a tick- ing time bomb that we need to deal with now," Simon said. "The West Virginia budget has tripled since 1990. You have this scale where the pop- ulation has gone up 1 percent, but the budget - if you adjust for inflation - has gone up 100 percent," Simon said. "That's not a good trend." Simon argues that politicians who tout West Virginia's fiscal health are papering over the un- derlying problems. "If you don't pay your mort- gage, and you don't pay your credit card debt, you' re going to have positive cash flow. Every- thing is going to seem all right until those debts mature and come back to bite you," Simon said. "What do we get for that huge investment? We have a school system that does not rank very well nationally. We fall near the bottom of every important eco- nomic category like per capita income, for example," Simon said, adding that West Virginia also received the lowest Kauff- man Index score, a measure of entrepreneurial activity, of any state. Home Health Care Specialists than apharmacy... Consumer ttorneys Who Care [ Breast &q [ i-easl & Cervlcai c ii ~!iiiii!i~i~iiiii~i~i~, I