CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates overwhelmingly approved the West Virginia Industrial Advancement Act Tuesday, Jan. 11, sending it to the Executive for action and completing the state’s obligations necessary to secure a proposed business investment that would be the largest project the state has ever seen.
The measure, Senate Bill 1001, received 91 votes, and in conjunction with additional bills approved Tuesday in the House, will finalize the economic recruitment process state officials have worked on for several months. The specific intent of the package of bills addressed during the special session is expected to clinch a proposed $2.7 billion investment in Mason County and the Northern Panhandle.
The proposed project would bring about 1,000 construction jobs and 800 full-time jobs with benefits.
“We are competing,” said Delegate Jonathan Pinson, R-Mason, who spoke in support of the bill just before its passage.
The bill would create a new section of tax code that clarifies how existing tax credits for manufacturing would apply to investments of this magnitude.
The five additional bills included in the extraordinary session call also related to economic development and were completed.
“The time for us to argue whether economic development incentives should be utilized has long since passed,” said House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay. “Other states have been doing it for years, and our actions today help the state of West Virginia secure a seat at the table.
“This is not a billion-dollar giveaway in any way. No state money will be spent until a company takes the first step and invests hard dollars here first. Data and our experience prove that big announcements and big investments will follow buy-in and good-faith cooperation.”
Delegate Daniel Linville, R-Cabell, spoke in support of Senate Bill 1001, describing its effect as an “enormous opportunity,” and Delegate Matthew Rohrbach, R-Cabell, called it a “generational investment in the state of West Virginia.”
West Virginia University Economics expert John Deskins has prepared an impact study on the proposed project which forecasts a $25 Billion economic impact with potential for as many as 5,000 new downstream jobs in the state from this single project.