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 the members can be found HERE).

The bill is slated for the House floor this week. If approved, it will then head to the Senate for final passage. We encourage our constituents to let their delegates know that they support the Brains for Business bill.

Other Charleston Chamber supported legislation is gaining steam and making headlines this week at the Legislature.

Representatives in the House of Delegates are working on the West Virginia Innovation Free-Trade Zone Act of 2012 (HB 4547). The Charleston Chamber backed legislation focuses on policies to encourage investment in businesses that create high-value jobs, diversify the state’s economy and promote sustainable growth.

The bill allows tax credits credits to new or expanded businesses that employ 21st-century business technologies and create new jobs with good pay (minimum $50,000 annually/ job) and health insurance benefits.

Currently, the bill is being discussed in the House Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business Committee.

The Charleston Chamber also supports legislation that 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 Chamber believes this legislation would ensure governmental entities are able to take advantage of tax credits when they convert to alternative fuel vehicles, and would encourage natural gas fueling stations in the state by making natural gas fuel a new capital investment. The legislation is being discussed in the Senate (SB 624).

The Charleston Chamber will continue to work with our legislative leaders on policies that will support job creation and build stronger communities in coming weeks, and keep members informed of critical issues that will impact our future.


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February 2012
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