Here’s a bit more info on a few bills that are catching our eye this session.
House Bill 2591 – Temporary Tax Credit for Small Businesses
Legislation proposed in the West Virginia House would create a temporary tax credit for small businesses to cover up to fifty percent of the cost of branding, marketing, and advertising of agricultural or manufactured products made in West Virginia.
House Bill 2591, proposed by nine House Republicans, would make the tax credit available for five years to businesses with up to 25 employees.
The bill was referenced to both the House Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development and Finance Committees upon introduction on February 21. It passed Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development on March 10 and was sent to the House Finance Committee, where it faces intense competition to be placed on the agenda among 145 total bills still pending in House Finance.
If you support this bill, you can contact the House Finance Committee Chairs and ask that they place HB 2591 on the agenda.
House Bill 2843 – Expanding Tax Increment Financing
HB 2843 would modify the Tax Increment Finance Act (TIF) to include Class III and Class IV municipalities. This bill would provide access to Tax Increment Financing, an economic development tool designed to spark job creation and promote local development, to all municipalities. As it stands, only Class I and II cities may access TIFs on their own.
While the 2004 Tax Increment Finance Act was debated, the West Virginia Development Office, which has final veto power of all TIF projects, feared it lacked the capacity to handle a large number of project applications. As a result, Class III and IV municipalities were removed from the bill and the legislation passed.
Since then Class III and IV cities have gone through their respective County Commissions to access TIFs under County Bond issuances. Some say the process to be granted a TIF via a County Bond issuance has proved cumbersome, and has unnecessarily slowed project implementation. HB 2843 would allow all municipalities to access TIFs on their own to correct this issue.
The bill recently passed the House Political Subdivisions Committee and was sent to House Finance, where it is waiting to be placed on the agenda. Please call the House Finance Chairs if you support expanding TIF to all municipalities.
Both Senate Bill 238 and House Bill 2545 would increase the rate of West Virginia’s historic rehabilitation tax credit from 10 percent to 25 percent.
The Hub believes this piece of legislation would help reduce the number of abandoned properties in West Virginia and spark historic redevelopment in communities throughout the Mountain State.
While SB 238 seems to have hit a wall in the Senate Finance Committee, HB 2545 still has a shot at making it passed Crossover Day. First, it must get through the House Finance Committee.
If sparking the redevelopment of West Virginia’s historic properties is important to you, please call your legislators and ask that they prioritize House Bill 2545.
House Bill 3093 – Broadband Enhancement
HB 3093 proposes a broadband enhancement and expansion program aimed at making high-speed internet more widely accessible.
The bill would expand the Broadband Enhancement Council and set forth additional duties, authorize municipalities and counties to form non-profit co-ops for internet service, establish new policies for make-ready pole access, and prohibit internet providers from advertising or contracting for “up to” speeds.
This bill looks set to pass the House, and do battle in the Senate after Crossover Day.
Senate Bill 27 – The Pickle Bill
SB 27 would allow farmers market vendors to apply for a microprocessor permit that would allow them to sell certain microprocessed foods like jams, jellies, pickles and sauces at a West Virginia farmers market.
The required microprocessor permit is in addition to the farmers market vendor permit. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and was ordered to the House on March 21, where it is pending in the Health and Human Resources Committee.