Vision for the 2018 Legislature

Our state has made tremendous progress in recent years, and the West Virginia Legislature is to be recognized and commended for its commitment to building a business climate dedicated to job growth. The 2017 economic data for West Virginia shows:

  • The state's gross domestic product was second in the nation for the first quarter of 2017.
  • Coal production increased 24 percent in the last 12 months .
  • Natural gas production reached an all time high.
  • Construction increased by 900 jobs from September 2016 - September 2017.
  • Healthcare added 3,400 positions from September 2016 - September 2017 .
  • Numerous national and international companies have announced expansions in recent months.

We add the passage of the Roads to Prosperity Amendment to the list and applaud the improvements it will bring. However, additional changes are needed to create an environment to attract and create jobs.


Education reform and workforce development are critical. We cannot prepare students to compete in today's world when almost 1,500 schools across the nation are ranked higher than our best school in West Virginia. It is time to acknowledge the harm being caused to our students. We also must create a system that recognizes students as individuals, some of whom may seek career and technical training instead of the college path. Our students are the talent-pipeline for West Virginia's future workforce..



 

Modernization of our tax structure is vital. West Virginia is one of only seven states that taxes tangible business personal property, such as equipment and inventory. By reducing or eliminating this tax, West Virginia can compete more aggressively with other states.


The oil and gas industry presents a great opportunity for economic growth and development in West Virginia. The state can benefit from understanding the industry's needs and providing appropriate support.


Enhanced connectivity is a benefit to all living and working in the state.The world must be at our fingertips to be prepared and competitive in the 21st Century. Access to high-speed internet is a key infrastructure requirement when companies evaluate potential sites for business expansion in West Virginia.


We must respond responsibly to the addiction crisis that is crippling our state and impeding our workforce. This situation requires a comprehensive plan that addresses the current challenges and recognizes education and support for youth are critical. Business is eager to support measures that will help our fellow West Virginians who are trapped in addiction.


Improvements to West Virginia's business climate initiated by the Legislature are resulting in more industry recruitment and retention opportunities. We must adequately fund and support the activities of the West Virginia Development Office to aid in job growth.


A smart approach for each initiative is required, and this includes recognizing social responsibility is expected by today's business community. To protect our state's image, the message that West Virginia is welcoming and inclusive must be sent and protected in all we do.

Action on each issue is needed to demonstrate West Virginia is serious about being irresistible to companies investing in jobs. The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce is committed to bringing positive change to our state. Addressing these issues during the 2018 Legislative Session will show our state is aggressively working to enrich the lives of those living here, as well as those exploring the possibility of locating to the Mountain State.