Delegate Matthew Rohrbach, R-Cabell, is proposing House Joint Resolution 41 to create the West Virginia Infrastructure Improvement and Industrial Development Amendment of 2016.
“I feel pretty strongly about this because, first of all, it would put a lot of people to work,” he said. “This is an attempt to correct a problem.”
The purpose of the resolution is to offer the voters an opportunity to allow the Legislature to authorize the issuance and sale of state bonds. The bonds would not exceed $1 billion, to be used for infrastructure improvement and industrial development. While the Legislature has been passed pro-jobs measures, Rohrbach said this could ensure even more West Virginians a bright future.
Rohrbach said the idea behind the possible constitutional amendment is to help the Mountain State be more competitive with other states. Relying on some of the legislation passing this year and last, Rohrbach said this is one piece of the puzzle to putting West Virginians back to work.
“We don’t have many places for businesses to locate, businesses may come to this state but they’re not going to always pay to run utilities,” Rohrbach said. “We have to recognize our weaknesses and work to fix them.”
The money would be evenly distributed around the state, and there could be a commission to analyze where those spots would be, Rohrbach said. Letting the taxpayers decide, the resolution wouldn’t be on the ballot until November and if approved wouldn’t affect the budget until Fiscal Year 2018 at the earliest.
“This would send the message for companies to come in, build your factory and employ hardworking West Virginians,” he added.
The resolution is now in the House Finance Committee, but then goes to the House Judiciary Committee before it would need a two-thirds majority vote in both Houses to be put on the November ballot.