Chamber News

The average price of a gallon of gasoline is $3.72. What can we do?

Senate Bill 624 is moving forward at the Legislature, but the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce is asking for your help to ensure it becomes law. This proposed legislation will advance new infrastructure for natural gas vehicles and allow local, county and state government to save taxpayer dollars by converting their vehicle fleets to cleaner burning natural gas. With the recent Marcellus and Utica Shale gas discoveries, natural gas has become important commodity in West Virginia. As a result, natural gas could be utilized as a cleaner, alternative fuel. If this legislation passes, it could lead to tremendous things for West Virginia taxpayers and our state and local governments. The rising price of gasoline According to CNN, gas prices climbed on Tuesday to a nationwide average of $3.72 a gallon. Gas prices are projected to reach the $4-$5 a gallon range this summer. By ensuring that state and local governments can convert to natural gas, fleet vehicles will be less...Read More >

Charleston Chamber wants your support for alternative fuel tax credits

The Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce is asking members of the public to voice their support to West Virginia legislators and get Senate Bill 624 passed. The legislation would authorize the sale and transfer of tax credits allowed for the purchase or conversion of alternative fuel vehicles and the construction of alternative fuel vehicle refueling stations. The bill would allow the tax credit in existing law to be transferable, even for governmental entities. If this legislation passes, it could lead to tremendous savings for West Virginia taxpayers and our state government. By making the tax credits transferable for governmental bodies, the state of West Virginia could save more than $5 million a year in fuel costs. That’s if the state utilized the tax credit to convert to a natural gas fleet. Under a federal program that expired in September 2011, governmental entities were allowed a 50 cents per gallon excise tax credit for alternative fuels even though governmental entities did...Read More >

Brains for Business bill passes huge hurdle at Legislature

After two years of hard work, the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce’s backed Brains for Business bill has passed a huge milestone at the Legislature. On Wednesday afternoon, the bill (Com Sub HB 4475) was passed unanimously by the House Finance Committee. The legislation would help attract and retain young people and encourage higher education completion rates in West Virginia. The bill would provide tax credits to West Virginia residents for the first two years after they receive an associate, bachelor’s or advanced degree from an accredited institution. It received strong support in the West Virginia Senate during the 2010 and 2011 legislative sessions, but has never achieved this milestone.   The Chamber would like to specifically thank the bill’s lead sponsor, Del. Doug Skaff, the other sponsors of the bill and House Finance Chairman Del. Harry Keith White for their work. Also, a big thanks to all the members of the committee for their support (a full listing of...Read More >

Call to Action: Funding for Transportation, Arts, Landscapes and Historic Preservation Threatened

Federal funding that supported some of the most beautiful aspects of this region is under threat. Now it’s up to the you to ensure this drastic funding cut is not implemented. The U.S Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the U.S House of Representatives will be meeting tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 2. During that meeting, the transportation enhancement funding could be eliminated. The funding has been a vital economic development tool for this region. About 10 percent of funding states receive for federal transportation projects must be set aside for enhancement activities such as trails, biking and pedestrian projects, the arts and historic preservation. These funds have supported many key development projects such as trails, Capitol Market, St. Albans Streetscape, Kanawha Boulevard Riverfront Development, Washington Street Streetscape, Mary Price Ratrie Greenspace and the Point Pleasant Riverfront Murals. Rep. Tom Petri of Wisconsin plans to introduce an amendment to ensure the funding does not get cut. Please urge the West Virginia representatives on...Read More >

Charleston Chamber agenda moving forward at Legislature

The West Virginia Legislature is moving forward with Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce approved bills, including one to provide economic incentives to businesses that locate a facility (commonly known as a “cracker”) to convert natural gas into ethylene. Last week, SB 206, (HB 4086) which provides property tax relief to companies that invest at least $2 billion towards a cracker was signed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. It becomes effective on July 1. The bill provides for a 25-year tax break to crackers, and would level the playing field for West Virginia in its quest to recruit a facility. Construction of a cracker would require an estimated $2-$3 billion in capital investment and generate upwards of 2,000 construction jobs, and several hundred permanent high value jobs at the facility. It would help revitalize the state’s chemical industry and spark significant “downstream” production resulting from the ready access to ethylene. The Charleston Chamber strongly supports measures to ensure West Virginia is...Read More >