Chamber News

Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce opposes bill to allow guns on campuses

Charleston, W.Va. – The Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce today released the following statement in opposition to HB 2519, which would allow people to carry concealed guns at public colleges and universities in West Virginia: “The Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce advocates for policies that are good for our community – measures that have the potential to make our region stronger, brighter and safer. House Bill 2519’s provisions could have the absolute opposite impact, and we stand opposed to this bill. This legislation poses a potential threat to the safety and well-being of the students, faculty, staff and visitors of the public higher education institutions we are proud to support.” ###

10 Reasons to Vote For the Safety Levy

On May 13, voters will have opportunity to support services on which we’ve come to depend by supporting the Ambulance, Bus & Emergency Services Levy. For nearly four decades, voters have voted “for” this critical protection plan, and this year, there are many reasons to continue the tradition. 1)    A vote for the safety levy means no tax increase. First passed in 1973, the levy would continue at the same rate, amounting to about 18 cents a day for the average household. If our friends and family are in danger, is rapid response worth 18 cents a day? The answer is clear. 2)    The Kanawha County Ambulance Authority would continue receiving the funding it needs to keep 40 ambulances out of 14 stations and three advance life support units on the road. Last year, they answered 53,451 calls. They respond to 90 percent of calls within eight minutes. In addition, the Charleston Fire Department’s Ambulance Division responded to 12,000 calls for service...Read More >

Help propel West Virginia into the future

A Message from Chamber President Matt Ballard With only four days remaining in the 2014 legislature session, the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce needs your help with an important piece of legislation. Project Launchpad (House Bill 4343) will be an important contributor to the future of West Virginia’s economy. The bill, which is currently up in the West Virginia Senate, focuses on job creation in the state. It will attract new businesses and create high-value jobs for our families now and into the future. The economy of the past that West Virginia has relied upon for employment, business activity, taxes and development is rapidly shrinking. Our state needs to position itself for better economic development and more job creation. “Project Launchpad” would create high paying jobs, new capital investment and a diversified tax base. The legislation allows for modest tax benefits for employers who have student loan debt service plans as part of their personnel policies. This element of the bill will...Read More >

The time for action is NOW

With 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...Read More >

Check out what the Charleston Chamber is monitoring at the Legislature

The 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...Read More >

We must act NOW to save “Brains for Business”

This is the most important e-mail you will receive this year regarding keeping our young talented professionals in West Virginia. On Friday, the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce backed Brains for Business bill (HB 4475) was defeated in the Senate Economic Development Committee. This legislation 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, math, engineering, education and nursing. For the past three years, “Brains for Business” has received strong support in the state Senate, which makes the recent news of its defeat all the more unsettling. We need your help to encourage these senators to take action and reconsider their vote against “Brains for Business.” If one of these senators changes their mind, then the legislation could be reconsidered at the next Senate Economic Development Committee on Tuesday, March 6. Please sign and send this letter...Read More >

Brains for Business achieves another milestone at the Legislature

Attracting and retaining the next generation of leaders in West Virginia is critical to the state’s future. In 2008, the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce proposed innovative legislation that created a new an economic incentive to help keep young people here in West Virginia. This legislation, known as “Brains for Business,” would provide 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, math, engineering, education and nursing. For the past three years, “Brains for Business” has received strong support in the West Virginia Senate, but has met challenges in the House of Delegates. On Tuesday, the bill was approved on the House floor. It’s now headed to the Senate for full passage. This is a milestone for our partners who have worked hard on this initiative, but most of all, it is vital for the future of our state. Economic...Read More >

Charleston Chamber wants your support for alternative fuel tax credits

The Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce is asking members of the public to voice their support to West Virginia legislators and get Senate Bill 624 passed. The legislation 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 bill would allow the tax credit in existing law to be transferable, even for governmental entities. If this legislation passes, it could lead to tremendous savings for West Virginia taxpayers and our state government. By making the tax credits transferable for governmental bodies, the state of West Virginia could save more than $5 million a year in fuel costs. That’s if the state utilized the tax credit to convert to a natural gas fleet. Under a federal program that expired in September 2011, governmental entities were allowed a 50 cents per gallon excise tax credit for alternative fuels even though governmental entities did...Read More >

Call to Action: Funding for Transportation, Arts, Landscapes and Historic Preservation Threatened

Federal funding that supported some of the most beautiful aspects of this region is under threat. Now it’s up to the you to ensure this drastic funding cut is not implemented. The U.S Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the U.S House of Representatives will be meeting tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 2. During that meeting, the transportation enhancement funding could be eliminated. The funding has been a vital economic development tool for this region. About 10 percent of funding states receive for federal transportation projects must be set aside for enhancement activities such as trails, biking and pedestrian projects, the arts and historic preservation. These funds have supported many key development projects such as trails, Capitol Market, St. Albans Streetscape, Kanawha Boulevard Riverfront Development, Washington Street Streetscape, Mary Price Ratrie Greenspace and the Point Pleasant Riverfront Murals. Rep. Tom Petri of Wisconsin plans to introduce an amendment to ensure the funding does not get cut. Please urge the West Virginia representatives on...Read More >

Charleston Chamber agenda moving forward at Legislature

The West Virginia Legislature is moving forward with Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce approved bills, including one to provide economic incentives to businesses that locate a facility (commonly known as a “cracker”) to convert natural gas into ethylene. Last week, SB 206, (HB 4086) which provides property tax relief to companies that invest at least $2 billion towards a cracker was signed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. It becomes effective on July 1. The bill provides for a 25-year tax break to crackers, and would level the playing field for West Virginia in its quest to recruit a facility. Construction of a cracker would require an estimated $2-$3 billion in capital investment and generate upwards of 2,000 construction jobs, and several hundred permanent high value jobs at the facility. It would help revitalize the state’s chemical industry and spark significant “downstream” production resulting from the ready access to ethylene. The Charleston Chamber strongly supports measures to ensure West Virginia is...Read More >