Check out what the Charleston Chamber is monitoring at the Legislature


COClogoThe Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce is pleased to provide an update of the current legislative session.

We have been monitoring many pieces of legislation and will continually keep you informed of important issues, not just to business, but to the general well-being of West Virginia.

Project Launchpad

House Bill 4343, also known as “Project Launchpad,” is legislation supported by the Charleston Chamber, West Virginia Manufacturing Association, Vision Shared and several other organizations and associations. The bill passed the House of Delegates on an 85-10 vote (with five members absent or not voting).

The intent of “Project Launchpad” is to assist in creating new jobs and new capital investment. It’s also focused on increasing the economic diversity of the state by attracting businesses that are focused on new technologies, talent recruitment and attraction by addressing student loan debt.

The bill will now go to the WV Senate and it is important that we let all 34 senators know that West Virginians want this legislation to build the framework for the economy of our children and grandchildren.

Please contact members of the Senate Finance Committee (click HERE for contact information) to express your support for this bill.

You can learn more and follow the progress of Project Launchpad on a Facebook page dedicated to the legislation HERE.

Tobacco Tax 

Our state’s tax on tobacco is among the lowest, but our usage rate is among the highest. The last increase in the tobacco tax was in 2003.

The state has strategically reduced taxes in recent years, including the food tax, the business franchise tax and the corporate net income tax. However, we need to increase the tobacco tax.

Businesses and citizens are all paying higher health insurance premiums due to the pervasive use of tobacco in our state.

Senate Bill 534 would work to change this for West Virginia.

Many would speculate that during an election year, politicians wouldn’t not want to raise the tobacco tax. Please call your senators (click HERE for contact information and let them know that YOU support the tobacco tax increase.

Jobs Investment Trust

The Charleston Chamber supports House Bill 4526. The bill would create a new West Virginia Capital Access Program, which would consist of three separate and distinct revolving programs intended to provide financing to small businesses that find it difficult to obtain traditional financing.

Minimum Wage 

The Charleston Chamber also supports House Bill 4283, which if passed by the West Virginia Legislature would increase the minimum wage in the state from $7.25 to $8 an hour after January 1, 2015 and $8.75 an hour after January 1, 2016.

The Charleston Chamber believes that this measured, multi-year and modest phase is appropriately timed to help West Virginia workers and their families.

According to national data, the real value of the federal minimum wage has fallen by close to 30 percent over the last 40 years. The minimum wage was last increased nationally on July 24, 2009, when it rose from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour as directed by federal law.

The Charleston Chamber believes the current minimum wage remains too low for workers to support their families.

This bill has passed the House of Delegates and is pending in the Senate Finance Committee (click HERE for contact information). Please voice your support of this legislation to committee members.