West Virginia in early stages of economic recovery, says WV Chamber of Commerce

By: Alex Thomas, January 30, 2017

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia’s economy is showing signs of economic growth, according to West Virginia Chamber of Commerce President Steve Roberts.

From 2011 through 2015, the state lost jobs with each year being worse than the previous. However, according to the United States Department of Labor, West Virginia ended 2016 with a jobs increase

According to Roberts, the state had a net gain of 7,000 new jobs between 2015 and 2016.

“It is really beginning to look like a real jobs recovery,” Roberts said on Friday’s MetroNews “TalkLine.”

Roberts said it is possible the “aggressive” West Virginia Legislature played a role in the economic turnaround by lowering the corporate net income tax to 6.5 percent and eliminating the business franchise tax.

“People are beginning to feel confident in West Virginia again,” Roberts said. “We have a long history of making things and making very valuable products. We have a long history of providing energy to the nation and the world.”

Roberts said the legislature could pass legal reforms like an automatic right of appeal during its session, which could further improve the state’s business climate.

The Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 legislative agenda notes the body will push for transparent and streamline bureaucracy, education improvements and actions to grow manufacturing and tourism industries throughout the session.

Roberts also said the chamber is willing to work with Gov. Jim Justice to help grow the economy.

“We want to join in helping the governor make that rocket ship ride exciting for everybody,” Roberts said.

Roberts said the signs of growth are early, and legislators should continue working on selling ideas as improvements are made, noting how the state’s right-to-work law was put on hold in Aug. 2016.