Randy Yohe Published

More High-Impact Economic Development Expected With Bill Passage


A bill passed on day two of the governor’s called special session is expected to attract more high-impact economic development to West Virginia.

House Bill 201 establishes funds for infrastructure and economic development projects. Gov. Jim Justice has proposed putting up to $600 million in the fund at the end of the fiscal year. The bill swiftly passed in the senate, but was laden with debate in the house.

Several delegates questioned the restriction of public access to project development information. Some said the bill was too ‘business friendly’ and needed more study.

Del. Daniel Linville, R-Cabell, explained that if the state wants to continue landing high-impact corporations like Nucor, who is building a nearly $3 billion steel plant in Mason County, it needs these simplified incentives to succeed.

“A yes vote on this bill makes it easier to land that next big project,” Linville said. “That next big project, right next to my district, already is bringing in 1300 permanent jobs.”

The completed legislation requires incoming businesses to commit job numbers and salaries related to the amount of funding offered.

It also allocates $200 million to the Department Of Transportation to leverage grant funding coming from the federal infrastructure act.

As the house and senate both adjourned Sine Die Tuesday morning, two of the governor’s call items did not pass. House Bill 202 would have exempted Bluefield State University from some oversight by the Higher Education Policy Commission. House Bill 213 would have allowed no more than two licensed laboratories for medical cannabis testing and prohibit conspiracy by those two labs to fix prices.