CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Legislators gathered on Monday in Charleston, W.Va., for a special session called by Gov. Jim Justice over the weekend to address bills related to economic development establishing a “West Virginia Industrial Advancement Act,” which provides certain tax incentives, based upon “very significant investment and employment thresholds, for labor and capital intensive heavy industrial facilities to locate in the state,” according to a news release from the governor’s office.
During a meeting of the House Finance Committee on Monday which was livestreamed via the legislature’s website, the Governor’s Chief of Staff Brian Abraham was asked to speak about the legislation and how it relates to potential investment. Abraham specifically mentioned a company possibly locating in Mason County, W.Va.
The specific location of the Mason County site and the name of the company were not noted during the House hearing. However, Abraham said the company would be making an “almost $3 billion investment into our state,” creating an estimated 800 full-time jobs and anticipated 1,000 construction jobs.
“The Economic Development Office, the Administration, we believe this Bill is a wise decision to attract not just any company but this particular company,” Abraham told the committee. “It’s something we’ve never seen here before in West Virginia…”
During questions from the House Finance Committee, Abraham also mentioned the potential Mason County location was in an unincorporated area. When asked about the way the legislation may affect property tax credits that would apply to the county commission, Abraham said it was his understanding the Mason County Commission and Mason County Board of Education would be meeting to discuss those issues and any resolutions relating to them later this week.
Abraham told the committee, the company indicated it wished to be in production within 24 months and would be working within the next 30-45 days on outreach to educational and employment agencies among other activities.
“I believe this to be the largest single investment in West Virginia History in terms of our infrastructure and manufacturing…,” Abraham told committee members.
The House Finance Committee voted unanimously to send the legislation to the floor with a recommendation of passage. The State Senate voted earlier in the day to pass the legislation 30-1.
According to the press release from the governor over the weekend when he called for the special session: “The appropriations the Governor is requesting the Legislature to make will be used by our Department of Economic Development to secure tremendous private investment all around the state. These appropriations will mark the largest investment in economic development in this state’s history, and will pay untold dividends in recruiting businesses, their employees and families, and further private investment in West Virginia.”
More on this developing story as details become available.
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Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.