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House passes site development and workforce training bills aimed at economic growth

By February 16, 2022April 15th, 2022Site development

Delegates today passed several bills designed to help West Virginia’s economic development efforts.

The bills, several of which dealt with tax credits or tax exemptions, will now go to the state Senate.

“It’s Freedom Day, I think,” said Delegate Kayla Young, D-Kanawha, joking lightly on a phrase often used in the House to describe bills intended to loosen regulations or provide more. flexibility to citizens.

“Today it does,” replied House Finance Chairman Eric Householder, R-Berkeley.

House Bill 4002 would create the Certified Site Readiness and Development Program. Lawmakers in the House of Delegates have pushed for the bill since the start of the regular session and passed it today, 98-0.

The West Virginia Economic Development Council passed a resolution earlier this year in support of the legislation.

The bill seeks to push the state’s Department of Economic Development to develop site evaluation and criteria standards and application processes for developers. Applicants can only include state, county, municipal, or regional government entities such as economic development authorities.

From there, the department could use the applications to select sites for the program, allowing for matching grants of up to 50%. There is a micro-grants program of up to $25,000 per site.

House Speaker Roger Hanshaw touted the bill as a vital economic development tool during an appearance this week on MetroNews’ “Talkline.”

Roger Hanshaw

Hanshaw has written off last month’s major investment announcements by Nucor Steel, GreenPower Motor and Owens & Minor.

“It’s that we need to have a property ready for development if we’re going to have any hope of recruiting and attracting development,” he said.

“We got a master’s education by recruiting and landing the Nucor investment here in West Virginia. We are determined to learn from it and make the most of it. »

Hanshaw also promoted HB 4465, “Relating to the Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit”, which also passed the House of Delegates today. It provides a credit to employers for wages paid to apprentices.

This bill passed 96-0 today.

“Workers matter, and they matter more than they ever have before, because we have such a national shortage of trained and skilled workers,” he said.

“We know that the skilled trades play a vital role in bringing any viable investment to life in West Virginia. So if we’re going into the market to attract and recruit these kinds of Fortune 500, Fortune 100, Fortune 50 investments here in our state, we need to have people who can build these buildings, who can wire these lines, who can install these machines, which can commission these buildings.