Legislative Agenda

During the 2017 West Virginia Legislature Regular Session, the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce will advocate for policies that promote the economic health of the Kanawha Valley and West Virginia, monitor suggested changes to the regulatory environment and react to proposed new legislation and infrastructure projects.

The Chamber’s legislative agenda highlights issues and positions on items that affect Kanawha County businesses, including:

  • Create a Statewide Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Support Program – West Virginia should support innovators and entrepreneurs creating high-tech businesses and high-paying jobs throughout the state. A West Virginia SBIR matching grant program will help small businesses commercialize new technologies, keep homegrown technology in West Virginia, attract technology-based small businesses to West Virginia and help small businesses generate a higher return through this federal program.
  • Highways, Roadways and Bridges Infrastructure – With more than 1,500 functionally obsolete and nearly 1,000 structurally deficient bridges in West Virginia, it is time to address our roads and bridges. It is imperative that we have a reliable and safe infrastructure system so that commerce can easily flow throughout the state. The Chamber considers maintenance and repair to our interstates, roads and bridges a quality of life and economic development issue of the highest priority.
  • Modernizing the West Virginia Lottery – The shift toward modernizing the state’s lottery, which the people of West Virginia voted to approve in the 1980s, is key to maintaining a competitive status of our lottery. In a wired world of ever-changing technological advances, the West Virginia Lottery needs to adapt to survive. States that have introduced online lottery ticket sales and other online advancements have provided a return on investment for their state.
  • Professional Licensure Efficiency – West Virginia requires licenses for everyone from doctors and lawyers to barbers and foresters. Clearly, licensing for public safety is paramount, but can the licensing process be administered more effectively and efficiently?  The Charleston Regional Chamber believes the legislature should take a closer look at the costs and benefits of licensing regulations and whether the restrictions protect the public. Creating a more efficient and effective licensing process for professionals could generate budgetary savings for the state and reduce barriers to new entrants to opening small businesses.
  • State Historic Tax Credit Increase – West Virginia’s historic rehabilitation tax credit encourages developers and property owners to make a capital investment in improving or rehabilitating, historic structures. The state’s redevelopment of historic properties is not meeting its potential and lags in part due to the modest 10 percent tax credit. The Chamber supports increasing the incentive to 25 percent to spur more projects that return abandoned buildings and historic structures to useful life. The new capital generated by these projects creates jobs, removes blight and improves property taxes.
  • Work Force Program – West Virginia must equip its workforce with in-demand skills sets that will retain and attract businesses. In order to remain globally competitive, it is critical that West Virginia’s workers have the tools they need to succeed in a 21st century economy. The Chamber supports the Governor’s Guaranteed Work Force Program and encourages lawmakers to exempt the program from further funding cuts.
  • Improve Broadband Infrastructure – Broadband is crucial to driving growth, improving our education system and connecting West Virginians to the 21st century global economy. We need to improve quality, reliability, speed and affordability for all West Virginians.

The aim of the Chamber’s actions are to continue making the business environment across the Mountain State welcoming for businesses to start and grow to spur new capital investments and to encourage innovation.   The Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce will focus its efforts on improving the West Virginia economy, the most critical need currently facing the State.