Chamber News

April 6 Legislative Update

  Today marks the 58th day of the 60-day West Virginia 2017 Regular Legislative Session. The session ends at midnight Saturday, April 8. Bills will likely need to be read a first time on the floor by Thursday, April 6 to ensure 3 full days of reading. The bills may still be being worked on in committee during this process. As is traditional, the last few days of the session can have unusual events that can be difficult to track in real time. Therefore, we hope to provide you a post-session wrap up after the dust settles. The Budget and Medicinal Marijuana bills have dominated the discussions of the Legislature this week, but there has been time for other bills to move forward. Here are a few updates on bills of interest we have been tracking: SB 238 would increase the tax credits allowed for rehabilitation of certified historic structures from 10% to 25% of rehabilitation expenditures. The full Senate...Read More >

March 31 Legislative Update

Today marks the 52nd day of 60-day West Virginia Regular Legislative Session. The Charleston Chamber continues to monitor legislation that impacts businesses throughout the state. “Crossover Day” has come and gone; and now only bills that passed one chamber of the legislature are in play. However, that does not mean that old bills are dead as they may be amended into bills that are still alive provided they do not violate the “single object” rule contained within the state’s constitution. The session ends on Saturday, April 8 at midnight. Bills will likely need to be read a first time on the floor by Thursday, April 6 to ensure three full days of reading. The bills may still be being worked on in committee during this process. The following is a summary of some of the legislative action the Chamber is monitoring: SB 238 would increase the tax credits allowed for rehabilitation of certified historic structures from 10 percent to 25 percent...Read More >

Charleston Chamber Opposes Rushed Amendment to Change Ownership of West Virginia Regional Technology Park

Amendments offered late last week to HB 2815 would transfer ownership and management of the WV Regional Technology Park in South Charleston to Marshall University. While partnerships and collaboration with higher education institutions specifically in the area of research and commercialization, are embraced by the Park, and have always been part of the vision for the Park, the Charleston Regional Chamber is concerned that such a rushed and dramatic shift has been proposed without the benefit of collective planning and due diligence to analyze the proposed change. With only days left in the session, it would not be responsible for the legislature to pass HB 2815 in its current form. There has been no opportunity for planning with those involved with Park operations, marketing, and strategy, including the Park Board of Directors. The goal of the Technology Park is to create new jobs and capital investment focused around innovation and the commercialization of new technology. This requires collaboration and partnerships...Read More >

Show Your Support for SB 238

The full Senate unanimously passed the State Historic Tax Credit Increase, SB 238, this week. This legislation increases West Virginia’s income-producing historic tax credit from a 10 percent historic rehabilitation tax credit to 25 percent, making downtowns of all sizes desirable places to live and work. The Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce supports this legislation as it will spur private investment, create jobs and repurpose vacant and underutilized historic buildings. The Chamber is supporting the Revitalize West Virginia Downtown Coalition to get the bill through committee in the House and voted on by the full House of Delegates by midnight on April 8. To make West Virginia’s downtowns more competitive with neighboring states, we encourage you to reach out to your Delegates and express your support for SB 238. Let them know that an increase in the current state historic rehabilitation tax credit from 10 percent to 25 percent would make West Virginia’s historic commercial districts more attractive to developers...Read More >

March 10 Legislative Update

It is past the midway point of the 60-day legislative session of the West Virginia Legislature. We continue to keep you updated on popular or hot topics and advocate for legislation that the Chamber believes will help the Mountain State be more competitive when it comes to recruiting new investments and jobs, as well as policies that enable our small businesses and communities flourish. It appears that both houses may begin to have weekend sessions and committee meetings, so future updates may increase in frequency or become sporadic. The last day to introduce bills in the House of Delegates is March 14 and the last day to introduce bills in the Senate is March 20, except those originating in standing committees. The following are bills of interest and bills on the move that we are currently tracking: HB 2548 is of special interest to our restaurant, bar and entertainment community. The bill, quite simply, would remove a state restriction against...Read More >

March 2 Legislative Update

Today is the 23rd day of the 60-day regular session of the West Virginia Legislature. Throughout the session, we keep you updated on “popular” or “hot topics.” More importantly, we ask for your assistance in advocating for legislation that the Chamber believes will help the Mountain State be more competitive when it comes to recruiting new investments and jobs, as well as policies that enable our small businesses and communities to flourish. Recent state budget discussions have included the elimination of the West Virginia Film Office and the film investment credit. The office has a modest staff of three that helps to recruit productions to the state. When that is successful, crews spend money locally, generating more income and tax revenue. More work builds a local industry of technicians. The multiplier effect fills hotel rooms and restaurants and supports catering operations. The Chamber is advocating for the protection of this credit and state initiative to support an industry that creates...Read More >

There’s still time left to register for this Wednesday’s ‘Issues & Eggs’

Issues & Eggs Wednesday, Feb. 13 8:00-9:15 a.m. – Program Charleston Marriott Town Center Check-in will open at 7:30 a.m. Senate President Jeff Kessler, House Speaker Rick Thompson and other top West Virginia policymakers will preview the 2013 legislative session at the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce’s annual “Issues & Eggs” event this Wednesday. More than 400 delegates, senators and business leaders are expected for West Virginia’s original and largest legislative breakfast, which will be held at the Charleston Marriott Town Center.Join the Charleston Chamber in its more than 50-year tradition of bringing lawmakers and business and community leaders face-to-face to discuss the issues that will shape our state’s future. Check-in will open at 7:30 a.m. and the program will begin at 8 a.m. Tickets are $45 for members and $55 for future members. Click here to register. “This event presents an excellent opportunity for you to hear directly from your representatives on the issues that matter to you and...Read More >

Support “Brains for Business” TODAY at the State Capitol at 9 a.m.

Attention young professionals! Show your support for “Brains for Business” by attending this morning’s meeting of the Senate Economic Development Committee at the State Capitol. The meeting will take place at 9 a.m. in Room 451M. We need YOUR support to ensure this legislation is reconsidered. Last week, the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce backed “Brains for Business” bill (HB 4475) was defeated in the Senate Economic Development Committee. This morning at 9 a.m., the committee will reconvene at the State Capitol. “Brains for Business” could be brought back before the committee if a senator who initially opposed the bill asks for it to be reconsidered. Please help the Charleston Chamber and encourage the committee members to work together and get this important legislation passed. “Brains for Business” would provide modest tax credits to state residents for the two years after receiving an associate, bachelor’s or advanced degree from an accredited institution in certain areas of study, including science, technology,...Read More >

EPA chief must allow coal permits, chambers of commerce warn

 This op-ed from President Matt Ballard appeared in the July 8 edition of The Charleston Gazette. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency needs to consider jobs and economic impacts as the agency continues with its regulatory actions related to coal production and coal use as an energy source. That is the position that has been taken by many elected leaders in West Virginia, and now by 17 local chambers of commerce in West Virginia. In a joint letter mailed to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, our 17 local chambers are calling on the agency to finalize its permit reviews and provide coal companies and the miners they employ with a transparent regulatory process that is based on science and that balances environmental protection with job preservation and economic well-being in our region. For the past two years, the EPA has been undertaking a number of regulatory actions that are posing challenges on coal production and coal use, particularly in Central Appalachia. These include an...Read More >

Are the Clouds Lifting?

“After several years of dire revenue news from state capitals, the fiscal situation seems to be improving in a number of states. As of October 2010, West Virginia had posted six straight months of revenue increases.25 Kentucky’s budget director says the state could end the current fiscal year with $58 million more than expected if current trends hold.26 Minnesota collected $55 million more than predicted between July and September 2010, making a sizeable dent in the state’s budget deficit.” From “State’s Revenue Estimating, Cracks in the Crystal Ball” the Pew Center on the State Editorial Commentary: West Virginia’s budget situation continues to be positive, specifically compared to most other states. You hear it everywhere and it is a “sales point” for the state right now;  “balanced budget, not in the red, provides continuity of government.”  An excellent and descriptive way to describe the situation right now…  but the question that remains unanswered, is will state decision makers invest during this time of relative...Read More >