W.Va. lawmakers off to good start

Lawmakers have already proven they are serious this year about working with employers to bring opportunities to the state. Certainly this time they had a target in mind, and therefore were able to act with more confidence, but passage of the West Virginia Industrial Advancement Act could be a sign of more good things to come.

Though it had not been made official at the time of the vote, legislators had in mind a reported plan by North Carolina-based steel manufacturer NUCOR to invest $2.8 billion in building facilities in Weirton and Mason County. Those who developed the WVIAA put in place a tax credit equal to 50 percent of qualified labor-intensive heavy industry manufacturing projects with a minimum investment of $2 billion in property for use as an industrial site and the hiring of at least 500 full-time employees within the first 36 months of the tax year the incentive is offered.

Perhaps after having been burned one too many times before, lawmakers also made sure taxes can be clawed back by the state if an employer does not meet minimum requirements within 72 months.

It is good to know some in Charleston are learning from past mistakes. If they are sincere in being honest about all the mistakes that have been made, perhaps there is, indeed, a brighter future for West Virginia’s jobs landscape.

Though the news is encouraging, one cannot help but understand state Sen. Owens Brown, D-Ohio, and his reluctance to say yes to a bill that was rushed through so quickly.

He is correct that “haste makes waste.”

So, as lawmakers settle in to a more thoughtful approach to reviving and diversifying our state’s economy, there must be a balance between quickly getting done the business of serving West Virginians and giving themselves enough time to do that business properly. Such a balance does exist.

If they get it right, the 2022 session could be filled with promise.


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