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Increasing Property Tax Break in West Virginia

During these tough economic times, many Eastern Panhandle senior citizens say they have difficulty making ends meet, due to fixed incomes. Now a delegate is going introduce a bill to help them with their taxes.

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - During these tough economic times, many Eastern Panhandle senior citizens say they have difficulty making ends meet, due to fixed incomes. Now a delegate is going introduce a bill to help them with their taxes.

Nowadays it's seems to be more struggle for seniors to get by in the Eastern Panhandle. They say their fixed income is not enough anymore for pay off their mounting expenses. 

"We take out for insurances, medical bills and everything. Taxes, because everybody is on fixed income," said Earl Whisner, a Morgan County senior citizen. "We are really tight on living expenses."

That's why Delegate Daryl Cowles wants to update the 1982 Homestead Exemption Act which gave seniors and the disabled a $20,000 break on residential property taxes. Cowles says over time, property values and taxes have increased so to keep up with current market, he wants the break to increase to $50,000.

"A normal home is valued at $200,000 in the Eastern Panhandle. You only get a $20,000 break as oppose to the same home in Southern West Virginia maybe valued only $80,000 they get a $20,000 break, 25 percent value while we are only getting a 10 percent value," said Del. Daryl Cowles of (R) Morgan, District 58.

As a one time foster parent, Cowles also has a concern for foster care. He's going to introduce a bill of rights for foster children and one for foster parents. The bills will include laws to give proper time of notification to parents and children if social services have to move them out. It will also give parents and children the right to fight the moves of Social Services.

"A foster child was moved from a home far too often, or a foster child was moved with far too little notice, not even enough notice to go back to the original foster home to gather their things or say goodbye to the puppy," said Cowles.  

Cowles says he also wants to introduce a bill to create an oversight committee, to monitor foster care activities in the Mountain State.

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