The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

February 19, 2013

Officials to consider jobs impact proposal

Tomblin’s bill boosts issue after versions were introduced in House, Senate

CHARLESTON — Lawmakers would get a sense of how a bill might help or harm West Virginia’s economy before casting a vote under a measure proposed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin this session.

The Democratic governor’s call for a jobs impact statement, to accompany legislation upon request, closely mirrors proposals sought for more than a decade by lawmakers of both parties. With identical versions introduced in the House and Senate on Friday, Tomblin’s bill boosts the issue’s profile and chances for success.

“We’re excited that the governor agrees with us that we need this type of information,” said House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, who with fellow Republicans has championed a jobs impact statement. “We hope his added support to it will make sure it passes.”

But environmentalists have raised concerns about similar proposals during prior sessions, arguing they aim to deter anti-pollution efforts.

“We would certainly oppose it as written,” said Don Garvin of the West Virginia Environmental Council. “Its sole purpose is to delay or defeat regulatory legislation.”

State agencies already routinely provide fiscal notes, or estimates of how legislation would affect government spending and revenues. Tomblin’s bill would assign the state Development Office to compile a jobs impact statement upon request by a governor, House speaker of Senate president.

The governor wants the statements to detail both short- and long-term effects on jobs; estimate the number of jobs created, kept or lost; and study the net effect on employment levels and patterns. The office, which oversees the state’s economic development efforts, would have to note any relevant information it omits from a statement and explain why.

The Development Office would have 20 days to provide a requested statement, which would then be shared with all legislators and the public. The office could enlist other state agencies or outside organizations to aid its research.

Sen. Evan Jenkins has pursued jobs impact legislation since he was in the House of Delegates in the 1990s. The Cabell County Democrat said he was inspired in part by highly sophisticated job modeling software used by economists at West Virginia and Marshall universities.

“We are right now, in effect, flying blind,” Jenkins said Monday. “We’ve had lots of speculation, and it’s easy rhetoric to predict jobs. It’s frustrating to me when we’ve got credible research tools that can be brought to the process and put to work for good jobs analysis.”

While in recent years such proposals have tended to idle in committees during sessions, a 2001 version passed the Senate and two House committees but then floundered on that session’s final night. Jenkins has already introduced his own bill this session, which began Feb. 13, while Armstead said the House GOP version is slated for introduction soon.

“We stand on the floor every session talking about what’s good for jobs or bad for jobs. We campaign every election year that we will fight for jobs,” Jenkins said. “What this bill’s said is, let’s get serious about it.”

Garvin believes such measures are modeled on a proposal crafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a policy advocacy group backed by such corporate interests as coal companies.

“I’d have no trouble with this bill if they’d also include an environmental impact statement and a human health impact statement,” Garvin said Monday.

1
Text Only
West Virginia
  • West Virginia chemical safe level following spill based on two weeks

    When federal officials decided what chemical levels West Virginians could safely consume in water tainted by a January spill, their standard assumed people would be exposed for two weeks, not 100-plus days.

    April 23, 2014

  • Some state Democrats flip to GOP

    As Republicans rally for more control in West Virginia’s long-time Democratic Legislature, a few Democrats have jumped ship to the GOP and are challenging former colleagues in midterm races.
    Republicans face their biggest election opportunity in decades in the House of Delegates, where a four-seat swing would put them in power for the first time in 85 years.

    April 20, 2014

  • Gee’s move could save Ohio State millions

    Ohio State University expects to save millions of dollars because former president Gordon Gee is giving up part of his retirement package as he becomes president of West Virginia University for the second time.

    April 19, 2014

  • W.Va. AG court filings: Dismiss gun law question

    The attorney general says a court challenge should be dismissed over whether West Virginians can bring guns to city recreational facilities that hold school events.
    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s filings Thursday argue the city of Charleston shouldn’t receive court guidance on how to implement a state gun law.

    April 18, 2014

  • Energy-state Dems split from Obama

    Scrapping to keep a West Virginia Senate seat Democratic in a state that’s sprinted to the right, Natalie Tennant is counting on her allegiance to the coal industry to separate herself from an unpopular President Barack Obama.
    Her approach reflects common Democratic strategy and tactics this midterm election year in energy-producing states that lean Republican: Sen. Mary Landrieu is vying for a fourth term representing Louisiana; Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is running for re-election for the first time; and Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes wants to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    April 17, 2014

  • Official: $2M in chemical spill costs reimbursable

    Public agencies and nonprofits that helped after a Jan. 9 chemical leak into the water supply could receive $2 million in reimbursements for their emergency work, a West Virginia homeland security official said.
    Federal and state emergency officials briefed fire departments, paramedics and other government groups Wednesday on how to recoup costs.

    April 17, 2014

  • Manchin urges mines to speak out for coal

    The Democratic senator leading the battle against the White House’s strategy to fight climate change urged the mining industry on Tuesday to speak out about coal’s role in providing affordable, reliable electricity to the country to help combat strict new emissions rules for coal-fired power plants.

    April 16, 2014

  • Many schools already meet new mandate for breakfast

    Many West Virginia public schools have changed the way they serve breakfast to students ahead of a requirement that goes into effect in September.

    April 14, 2014

  • W.Va. grower promotes unmodified feed corn

    Lyle Tabb is hoping that his non-genetically modified corn will take off with farmers who can charge top dollar for “all natural” eggs.
    Genetically modified or GMO corn has greatly simplified the process of getting rid of weeds, but has also substantially increased the amount of a chemical call glyphosate.

    April 13, 2014

  • Geologists link small quakes to fracking

    Geologists in Ohio have for the first time linked earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to hydraulic fracturing, leading the state to issue new permit conditions Friday in certain areas that are among the nation’s strictest.
    A state investigation of five small tremors last month in the Youngstown area, in the Appalachian foothills, found the injection of sand and water that accompanies hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the Utica shale may have increased pressure on a small, unknown fault, said State Oil & Gas Chief Rick Simmers. He called the link “probable.”

    April 12, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads