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Understanding How W.Va. Chamber Scores Lawmakers

On April 3, the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce rolled out its annual legislative scorecard. This annual project shows how members of the West Virginia Legislature — regardless of party — vote on issues that will affect job creation, workforce participation, education outcomes and many other issues vital to our state.

In our state, the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce is the clear and undisputed voice of business. The Chamber’s members can be found in all 55 counties and collectively employ over half of West Virginia’s workforce. Our members are the businesses that drive our economy, provide countless good-paying jobs, and enhance our communities. Within the West Virginia Chamber’s membership you will find some of the smallest businesses on Main Street, name brand companies we all recognize, and our largest employers.

Over 90%, however, are small businesses. These members come from every economic sector active in the state. The West Virginia Chamber is also proud to be nationally recognized as the leader in member loyalty and membership growth.

The West Virginia Chamber’s Legislative Scorecard is actually pretty simple. Members of the Legislature who score well are those that are working to move our state forward and make it a better place to live, work and raise a family. Those with lower scores typically have priorities elsewhere. Here are some examples that were used in this year’s scorecard:

– Income tax cuts: Thanks to the strong fiscal management of legislative leaders and the governor over the past several years, West Virginia is in position to enact some strong and meaningful tax cuts. That happened this year with the passage of HB 2526, which gives all West Virginians a 21.25% cut on their personal income tax and a 100% rebate on their vehicle property taxes.

– Grid Stabilization and Security Act of 2023: West Virginia is the fourth-largest producer of natural gas in the country, with marketed production rapidly growing each year. Despite that, West Virginia does not host any natural gas-fired power plants. This year the Legislature passed SB 188 which is designed to encourage development of these plants so that more West Virginians can enjoy the benefits — and the jobs — created by our vast natural gas resources. While the bill passed, several in the Legislature attempted to block or defeat the legislation. Of note, Ohio and Pennsylvania have over three dozen of these plants, and West Virginia produces significantly more natural gas than Ohio.

– Fixing PEIA: In January of this year, Wheeling Hospital announced that effective July 1 it would stop taking patients on PEIA. This was a problem years in the making. PEIA is a government-run healthcare program that insures nearly a quarter of a million people. Unfortunately, its finance board abdicated its responsibility to keep premiums at a proper employer-employee pay mix and failed to keep reimbursements up to date. The result was the taxpayer footing a larger bill and those on private insurance seeing higher costs. The Legislature addressed this with SB 268. The hard, but correct vote was in favor of SB 268.

– Form Energy: West Virginia landed a major economic development investment when Form Energy, a cutting edge battery manufacturer, decided to open a new 750-job plant on a portion of the site of the former Weirton Steel Mill. Several states were competing for this investment and West Virginia won it. This project is crucial to helping West Virginia remake its image as an all-of-the-above energy state and to attracting more cutting edge jobs.

An appropriation to the Department of Economic Development was required that thankfully passed, but not before multiple attempts by a small but vocal minority of legislators tried to defeat the project.

This is just a sample of the dozen-plus bills that were included in this year’s scorecard by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. One common theme is that many of these were difficult votes but were crucial to the mission of making our state a better place to live, work and raise a family. This scorecard was non-partisan. Fifteen senators and 24 delegates scored 100% this year, and one lawmaker scored as low as 16%. What it does show is how lawmakers vote when they go to the state capitol each year in Charleston.

The West Virginia Chamber encourages you to visit its website at and check out the scorecard for yourself. Look at your local senators and delegates and see how they are voting. You can also read about each issue that was included in the scorecard and you can even see how each lawmaker voted on each issue.

Brian Dayton is a native of Moundsville and serves as the Vice President for Policy and Advocacy for the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.


Op-Ed by Brian Dayton, VP of Policy & Advocacy, West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, The Intelligencer


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