The time for action is NOW


COClogoWith only days left in this legislative session, the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce requests your help with the following legislative issues.

This is a call to action.

Our democracy works most effectively when we as citizens and businesses communicate directly with our representatives. It is for this reason we ask your help.

Only phone calls, faxes and emails to the representatives, as outlined below, will result in our mutual desired outcome for the future of West Virginia.

Home Rule and Weapons Regulations

Instead of allowing cities to control their own destiny, the Legislature is trying to levy its power onto our cities and towns.

Senate Bill 317 seeks to overturn a regulation in Charleston and other municipalities that have gun regulations on the books, to address the specific needs in their cities.

What rules apply for Charleston, Huntington and Morgantown, may not be right for Gilbert, Glenville and Lumberport.

Whether it’s fees, taxes or limiting dilapidated buildings, each time we take two steps forward in regard to home rule, we take two steps back.

Contact the WV House Judiciary Committee (Click HERE for contact information) and let them know you oppose SB 317.

Project Launchpad and Jobs for West Virginia

Now is the time to encourage the West Virginia Senate Finance Committee and Senate President Jeff Kessler to run and pass House Bill 4343 (HB 4343), commonly known as “Project Launchpad.”

For the past few years, key organizations such as Vision Shared, the WV Manufacturers Association, the Charleston Chamber and many others have supported this job-creating initiative.

“Project Launchpad” would permit areas in the state to provide tax incentives that would support the attraction and expansion of high-tech businesses. The legislation also includes a modest incentive to encourage businesses to provide a student loan repayment plan to their employees.

“Project Launchpad” is aimed at “new economy” businesses with little or no presence in West Virginia, such as nanotechnology, bioscience and photovoltaics. These tax credits cannot be used for traditional businesses such as retail, warehouses or call centers.

West Virginia’s economy in 10-15 years will not look like it has in the past. This legislation, which has been assigned a neutral ($0.00) fiscal impact to the state budget by the State Tax Department, will provide our state, counties and cities with a powerful new economic development tool. It will attract the businesses that diversify our economy and create high-value jobs for our families now and into the future.

“Project Launchpad” will facilitate tax growth and diversification. The types of businesses this legislation would encourage, simply don’t exist, or exist minimally in the state, but they are the types of jobs our children and grandchildren will seek.

Now is the time to act.

Exercise your voice to help make this positive change for West Virginia.

We encourage all who care about creating a brighter future to contact the Senate Finance Committee (Click HERE for contact information) today and ask them to vote “YES” to HB 4343.

Show your support on social media by using the hashtag #PassLaunchpad.

More information on Project Launchpad:

Click HERE for a two-page briefing paper.

Click HERE for a jobs impact study by Vision Shared and the West
Virginia Development Office.

Retirement Savings and Planning

Expanding retirement options for West Virginians is an admirable goal. House Bill 4375 would create a retirement program within the office of State Treasurer. This same legislation was proposed in the Legislature in 2009, 2010, and 2011 and failed.

The Charleston Chamber believes this issue deserves more research and review. The premise of the legislation is that there are limited options in the private sector for retirement plans and programs, yet citizens can take advantage of portable programs such as 401(k),
403 (b), 457 (b) plans, IRAs and other private sector options.

It also indicates that the state can run a retirement program more efficiently and more cost effective than plans already in place, but there can be tremendous costs involved. The proposed legislation grants the State Treasurer sole discretion to invest the contributions on employers and employees.

This makes the Treasurer and the state liable for losses suffered for any misconduct or mismanagement. The Charleston Chamber urges you to contact the Senate Pension Committee (Click HERE for contact information) and ask them not to support House Bill 4375.

Retirement can be scary for one person to tackle on their own. The Charleston Chamber is committed to working with the private sector to expand educational opportunities and increase awareness and understanding of retirement planning throughout our region and the stat