Senate President Jeff Kessler says he is “confident” Morgantown’s proposed tax increment financing district will ultimately get approval from the Legislature, even though the bill died during the 2013 Regular Legislative Session.

“I’m not sure.  I’m still trying to figure it out,” the Senate President said when asked, on Monday’s MetroNews Talkline, why the bill failed.

“It was a bill that certainly is extremely important to North Central West Virginia, to Morgantown and to Monongalia County.”

The House of Delegates did not take the bill up for a vote on Saturday, the final day of this year’s session.

House supporters of a separate bill that would have equalized pay for all magistrates were using the Morgantown TIF bill as leverage, trying to get the Senate to agree to the widespread pay raise.  The Senate did agree to raise salaries for magistrates in half a dozen counties, but that was not enough for those in the House.

“We probably needed to sit down, the Speaker (of the House), myself, the Governor even, if necessary, and our finance chairmen to get this thing ironed out, rather than playing cat and mouse,” Senator Kessler said of the standoff’s result.

“It was obvious to me that is was online to be a train wreck waiting to happen, unfortunately.”

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Roman Prezioso says there are many reasons why Senators opposed pay raises for all magistrates.  “Throwing a carte blanche pay raise, across the board, doesn’t solve the problem,” Senator Prezioso said.

Despite a last minute proposal from the Senate to study magistrate pay raises, the bill failed with the close of session.

At this point, there is no word on whether Governor Earl Ray Tomblin will call lawmakers into Special Session to address the bill this week or later.  Senate President Kessler says there will have to be signs of an agreement if that is going to happen soon.

“He will not call us in if there’s not an understanding that we can dispatch it in short order,” he said.

The Morgantown TIF would create a special tax district to help finance a new ballpark, a new interchange along Interstate 79 and space for retail and commercial businesses.  By all accounts, it failed not on its merits, but because of the political wrangling.

Developers of the project have said the TIF district is a crucial part of the funding plan for the overall $16.2 million proposal, with the potential for thousands of new jobs, and it will likely shelved without an agreement.

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Comments

  • CaptainQ

    What would John Raese do?

  • Let's Start Fundraising!

    It's time to start fundraising to oust Tim Miley! 1700 jobs isn't important to him! Let's start mobilizing and get rid of these selfish politicians!

    • Tina

      Who is Tim Miley and why do I care to give anyone even more of my money?

      Good grief people, LET THE TIF DIE. WV needs capitalism not cronyism.

      • Realist

        How is the TIF cronyism? The TIF is all about bringing in new businesses and creating thousands of jobs which I'm pretty sure is the essence of capitalism. You should really read up on the issues before spouting off at the mouth.

  • thornton

    Kinda reminds me of kids in WalMart who swear to hold their breathe until they turn blue or kick their heels screaming in the candy aisle.
    An equal level of maturity and focus on themselves appears prominent in this case.

  • Big John

    The house leader did his best but some delegates feel some magistrtes deserve more pay for less work than other magistrates. If magistrates feel that they are under paid then find another job.

  • Johnna

    We need to clean house (literally!) ! It is so obvious they are all corrupt or incompetent. The Speaker of the house made some lame excuse some members had reservations...BS this is backwards politics through and thought. I mean shouldn't something this big that passed both committees be voted on?? If certain members had reservations, they can vote against it. THAT IS DEMOCRACY! I believe this will be the straw that breaks the camels back...WVGOP TAKES THE HOUSE IN 2014!

  • MountaineerSteve

    Do the house reps understand how stupid they look holding up this bill because they did not get what they wanted from an unrelated bill? They all need to go.

    • WILLIAM

      I'M LOVIN' IT --- TIF FAILED, LET WVU SPEND THEIR OWN MONEY TO BUILT THIS BALLPARK. THEY HAVE ALOT OF CASH, LOOK AT WHAT THEY PAY HUGGINS AND HOLGERSON. OVER $10,000.00 DOLLARS A DAY AND THESE COACHES ARE A MESS. THIS IS A WIN FOR THE COMMON FOLKS OF THE GREAT STATE OF WV

      • Realist

        You have to be kidding. The failure of this TIF could cost THOUSANDS of jobs to residents of North Central WV. Yes, WVU will benefit from the park but it would also be used by the city. Also, you do understand this bill was held up in the house in order to get pay raises for fat cat politician's friends right? Come on William, this has nothing to do with us "common folks" this whole thing is about more money for politicians.