W.Va. Benefits Greatly From Past Year’s Action
How often do elected officials promise you the world but never deliver? How often have you heard: “This is the most important election of our lifetime! Elect us and we will create millions of jobs and put more money in your pocket!”
Sound familiar? That’s probably because you’ve heard it before … year after year.
That’s what makes what we saw during President Trump’s first year in office so different and refreshing. For the first time in years, we have a president and a Congress that are producing results, and growing our economy at an unprecedented rate.
President Trump made a promise to the American people: Elect me and I will grow the economy and create jobs. He has delivered on these promises.
Thirteen states reached record low unemployment rates. West Virginia has seen the largest decline of them all! Since Trump took office, nearly 2 million jobs have been created — in just one year.
Estimates for the third quarter show America’s economy grew at 3.3 percent. Compare that to the previous eight years, when it grew at less than 2 percent. Consumer confidence reached a 17-year high. The stock market reached new heights and in so doing strengthened pension funds and retirement accounts across America. Nearly 1.4 million Americans were able to get off food stamps. Home prices rose by 6.1 percent, reaching new highs.
President Trump has rolled back job-killing regulations and overreaching executive actions from the Obama administration. They have approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, creating over 42,000 jobs. We’ve unleashed coal, oil, and gas development in the United States by expanding access to resources and the infrastructure needed to get them to market. As a result, coal exports have increased 45 percent. This means more jobs for coal country and American energy dominance.
So how has this affected West Virginia?
Our local economy has grown at a rate of 4.1 percent, which is one of the fastest growing in the U.S. Compare that to the last eight years, when our economy was growing less than 1 percent. What a turnaround. Our unemployment rate has dropped to near the national average and personal incomes have risen almost $1,300.
China Energy Corporation (Shenhua) recently signed a memorandum of understanding to invest nearly $84 billion in the Mountain State. This has the potential to create thousands of jobs and attract additional investments.
The Department of Commerce is also planning on expanding their cybersecurity facility in Fairmont. This expansion would show the growing influence West Virginia is playing in the information technology sector. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have also expanded its operations in the area. These are positive changes that will establish West Virginia as a leader in the information technology sector.
West Virginia University has been expanding under the leadership of Dr. Gee. The university has made additional investments in medical research and is establishing our state as a hub for scientific innovation.
There is a fundamental change underway in West Virginia. This change is shaking up the status quo and growing our economy at a rate we haven’t seen in a long time. This isn’t your grandparents’ West Virginia anymore.
There’s still more work to be done. In December, Congress passed the first overhaul of the tax code in 31 years. This provided a major boost to the middle class and will spur job creation. We doubled the standard deduction, increased the child care tax credit, retained the Historic Preservation Tax Credit that spurs economic growth on Main Streets nationwide, and lowered tax rates, which will see the average West Virginia family see a savings of $1,300 per year.
President Trump and Republicans in Congress are working to improve our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, reform how regulations are put into place, unleash America’s energy dominance and tackle our collapsing health care system. So while there’s still a lot more work to be done, America, and West Virginia, have turned a corner and things are looking up.
Under President Obama our economy suffered, our coal industry was constantly attacked and the onslaught of regulations killed thousands of jobs. It is going to take time to undo eight years of destruction.
But things are quickly turning around under President Trump’s leadership. During the campaign, he made a specific promise to help West Virginia and grow our economy. During his first year in office, he kept his word, and delivered on that promise. It’s exciting to see the work being done on West Virginia’s behalf in Washington, and I’m honored to be part of it. Just imagine how much more we will have accomplished by the end of this historic presidency.
Guest columnist McKinley serves in the U.S. House of Representatives from the First District of West Virginia. He resides in Wheeling.