West Virginia court rejects tax break for jet engine parts

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia’s top court has upheld the state’s property taxation of jet aircraft engine parts, rejecting Pratt & Whitney Engine Services’ argument that the $7.4 million inventory at its Bridgeport facility should be exempt under the state constitution.

Justice Menis Ketchum, upholding a lower court, says the parts don’t qualify as goods of interstate commerce temporarily held here.

He writes that their installation into a damaged engine “results in a new or different product, article, substance or commodity, or one of different utility” that’s not entitled to an exemption.

In a dissent, Chief Justice Allen Loughry says the majority “disregards” the plain language of the exemption for temporarily stored personal property that “substantially maintains its character.”

Loughry writes the court majority also disregards the Legislature’s edict to interpret the provision liberally.

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