(a) The commission or council may enter into lease-purchase agreements for capital improvements, including equipment, on behalf of, or for the benefit of, a state institution of higher education, the commission or council.
(b) After the commission or council, as appropriate, has granted approval for a lease-purchase agreement by a governing board, the board may enter into a lease-purchase agreement for capital improvements, including equipment.
(c) The governing boards of the exempted schools may enter into lease-purchase agreements without seeking the approval of the commission. The governing boards, subject to the jurisdiction of the commission, may enter into lease-purchase agreements of less than $1.5 million, without obtaining approval of the commission.
(d) A lease-purchase agreement constitutes a special obligation of the State of West Virginia. The obligation may be met from any funds legally available to the commission, council or the institution and shall be cancelable at the option of the commission, council, or governing board at the end of any fiscal year. The obligation, or any assignment or securitization of the obligation, never constitutes an indebtedness of the State of West Virginia or any department, agency or political subdivision of the state, within the meaning of any constitutional provision or statutory limitation, and may not be a charge against the general credit or taxing powers of the state or any political subdivision of the state. The facts shall be plainly stated in any lease-purchase agreement.
(e) A lease-purchase agreement shall prohibit assignment or securitization without consent of the lessee and the approval of the agreement as to form by the Attorney General. Proposals for any agreement shall be requested in accordance with the requirements of this section and rules of the commission and council. In addition, any lease-purchase agreement that exceeds $100,000 total shall be approved as to form by the Attorney General.
(f) The interest component of any lease-purchase obligation is exempt from all taxation of the State of West Virginia, except inheritance, estate and transfer taxes. It is the intent of the Legislature that if the requirements set forth in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, and any regulations promulgated pursuant thereto are met, the interest component of any lease-purchase obligation also is exempt from the gross income of the recipient for purposes of federal income taxation and may be designated by the governing board or the president of the institution as a bank-qualified obligation.