Randy Yohe Published

Form Energy Project Funding, Bus Drivers, Adoption Tax Credits Approved By House Finance Committee 

Two men in suits making an announcement in front of a large white sign with blue and yellow writing.
Gov. Jim Justice and Department of Economic Development Secretary Mitch Carmichael pictured during an announcement about a state partnership with Form Energy.
Courtesy Justice Administration.

The House Finance Committee debated a wide variety of bills on Monday that were recommended for passage.

House Bill 2882 makes supplemental appropriations to the state Economic Development Fund. The highlight of the bill is subsidizing $105 million to support the Form Energy project, bringing a new age battery plant with 750 jobs to the old Weirton Steel plant site. 

Some delegates and a committee member voiced concerns about the risk involved with a state ownership stake in the buildings and land.  

Del. Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha, was among a committee majority supporting the state funding. 

”Other states are doing this, they are spending, they are investing and I’m just blessed that we’re having an opportunity to compete now,” Skaff said. “I  got a chance to meet the people from Form Energy. They are committed and did their due diligence. They looked all around the country to find the right location. We have an opportunity today to send the message that West Virginia is open for business.”

The total public support by the State of West Virginia for the project is $300 million, including this piece being advanced. Form Energy has pledged to put up at least $350 million.The bill now goes to the House floor for approval.

Also on the Finance Committee agenda, 

House Bill 2346, declaring a crisis shortage of qualified bus drivers. The bill allows retired bus drivers to accept employment and keep their benefits. It passed unanimously.   

House Bill 2002 relates to providing support for families. The measure raises the income tax credit for adoptive parents from $4,000 to $5,000 and establishes a pregnancy support program. This bill was also sent to the House floor.

House Bill 3036 uncaps the number of districts from three, and increases the limit on approved costs to $150 million under the BUILD WV Act. The goal is to incentivize building housing neighborhoods in communities around the state to supply lodging for West Virginia’s growing economic development projects. The bill was sent to the house floor for approval.