Nationally-Recognized, Quality Local Journalism..

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to the Mountain State’s Trusted News Source.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.

Learn more about HD Media

Four days before the start of the 2022 West Virginia Legislative Session, Gov. Jim Justice issued a proclamation calling the Legislature to meet for a special session on Monday.

Justice wants lawmakers to fast-track six bills “all relating generally economic development” during the single-day session.

Justice is asking lawmakers to move surplus general revenue money and funds from various state agencies to the Department of Economic Development, according to the proclamation he issued Saturday.

Justice wants lawmakers to move money from agencies including the state Department of Health and Human Resources, Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and West Virginia State Police, to the Department of Economic Development, according to his proclamation.

The governor also is asking lawmakers to move remaining CARES Act money for coronavirus aid back to the DHHR and the Department of Homeland Security to supplement the money that would be moved to the Department of Economic Development.

The bills are supplemental appropriation bills that will “assure jobs and goodness for generations to come,” Justice said in a news release sent out at 10:22 p.m. Saturday.

The proclamation does not include dollar figures indicating how much money Justice is asking lawmakers to move around.

The State of West Virginia has more than $20.1 million in CARES Act money in-pocket, according to the West Virginia Auditor’s website. The deadline to spend the money is Sept. 30.

Justice also is asking lawmakers consider a measure to provide “certain tax incentives, based upon certain investment and employment thresholds, to promote development and expansion of new labor and capital intensive heavy industry in the state.”

“The appropriations on the governor is requesting the Legislature to make will be used by our Department of Economic Development to secure tremendous private investment all around the state,” Justice said. “These appropriations will mark the largest investment in economic development in this state’s history, and will pay untold dividends in recruiting businesses, their employees and families, and further private investment in West Virginia.”

West Virginia has more than $400 million in budget surpluses so far for fiscal year 2022, due, in part, to lowered revenue estimates and higher-than-expected severance tax revenue due to high prices for natural gas.

In November, Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow told lawmakers state tax collection was benefitting from the severance tax spike caused by high natural gas prices. He warned lawmakers that the increase could be short-lived.

Lawmakers already are convening in Charleston for interim committee meetings Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday ahead of the start of the 60-day regular session that begins Wednesday.

Justice is scheduled to give his State of the State address Wednesday evening. He teased announcements for the upcoming week in the news release Saturday night.

Among recent potential big investments for West Virginia is a $2.7 billion steel recycling facility by North Carolina-based Nucor Corporation.

The company announced in September that West Virginia was among three states in which executives were considering establishing a steel recycling facility.

Nucor manufactures steel and steel products and brokers certain steel components through The David J. Joseph Company, according to the company’s website.

The company has facilities in 23 states in the United States, including Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky.

The company is the largest recycler in North America, according to its website.

Lacie Pierson covers politics. She can be reached at 304-348-1723 or Follow @laciepierson on Twitter.

Recommended for you