(The Center Square) – The West Virginia House and Senate passed industrial tax incentive legislation and five other bills on Monday and Tuesday during a brief special session called by Gov. Jim Justice.
Justice called the special session to manage the $400 million in excess money from the state’s surplus so far in the fiscal year. All of the governor’s five bill proposals, which included the tax incentive bills and five supplemental appropriations bills, passed the legislature within two days.
Senate Bill 1001, which passed the Senate 30-1 and the House 91-2 with some members absent, establishes a new performance-based incentive program that grants tax breaks to labor and capital intensive heavy industrial facilities that locate in West Virginia. The tax credit program would be available to large investors, and they would be able to receive a tax credit on up to 50% of their qualified manufacturing investment. The tax credits could be used for their corporate income taxes and personal income taxes.
Although the governor did not cite any specific company when proposing the legislation, he promised a major announcement. Many have speculated that the bill was proposed to incentivize Nucor Steel to build a steel mill in West Virginia. Last year, the company announced it would build a $2.7 billion steel mill in either West Virginia, Ohio or Pennsylvania and a $350 million rebar facility. The legislation had substantial bipartisan support with legislators on both sides saying it would bring jobs to the state.
The other appropriations bills will focus on economic development designed to secure investments in the state, according to the governor’s office.
“These appropriations will mark the largest investment in economic development in this state’s history, “the governor’s office said, “and will pay untold dividends in recruiting businesses, their employees and families, and further private investment in West Virginia.”
The bills would allocate funding to the Department of Economic Development Office of the Secretary. The bills also appropriated some federal funds to the state’s COVID-19 relief efforts.