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WVa tax incentive for manufacturing sent to governor

By JOHN RABY Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A tax incentive for a potential industrial manufacturing project in West Virginia was sent to the governor Tuesday.

Gov. Jim Justice will give his sixth State of the State address on Wednesday night and has advertised an unspecified “major” announcement.

During a special session, the House of Delegates passed the incentive on a 91-2 vote with seven members absent. Two Republicans in the GOP-dominated House voted against it. The Senate approved the incentive Monday.

Without mentioning any company by name, lawmakers said one project was being targeted for Mason County along the Ohio River.

In September, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Nucor Corp. said it was looking to build a $2.7 billion steel mill in Ohio, Pennsylvania or West Virginia. The company also said in December that it was scouting for a site to build a $350 million rebar facility.

Justice had said in his special session proclamation Saturday night that the tax incentive would be based upon “very significant investment and employment thresholds” for labor and heavy industrial facilities.

Some Democrats remained skeptical about the speedy passage just two days after details of the tax incentive were disclosed.

“I am sad that we didn’t take a little bit more time,” Monongalia County Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer said during a seven-minute floor speech. “I have not been given a reason that I think makes sense about why this had to be rammed through so quickly.”

She also said other incentive packages given to companies by lawmakers in the past never came to fruition.

“Our duty to do due diligence is especially important because of the enormity of this investment,” she said. “And actually, I don’t know if investment is the right word. Even though there are very clear risks, there are also very large potential benefits. We all need an injection of hope. We all need more solid jobs.

“I’m going to vote yes with my fingers crossed.”