House of Delegates Speaker Rick Thompson says he’s excited about a new economic development tool state lawmakers will begin putting to work later this year.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has already signed into a law a bill passed by lawmakers earlier this year that will allow for the creation of House and Senate workgroups. The groups will travel inside or outside the state to determine how the state can be more aggressive in attracting jobs.

Speaker Thompson

Thompson says the groups will go to different places to see what’s happening in different states, different cities to see “what can we do to improve our job climate here? What can we do to help businesses expand or come here?”

There’s been some criticism of the recently concluded legislative session that very little was accomplished in the way of economic development. The state’s unemployment rate still hovers around seven percent. Speaker Thompson predicts a lot of good economic development ideas will come out of the new process.

“This will be four of five members from each body, different ones each month,” Thompson explained. “By the time you do this for one year, once a month for 12 months, most of the members who would like to do this will have an opportunity to go an can come back with ideas to help us figure out new ways to create new jobs for West Virginia.”

Speaker Thompson and state Senate President Jeff Kessler are in charge of appointing the workgroups. The law says they can work independently or in cooperation with the state Department of Commerce and the West Virginia Development Office.

Thompson says he wants to make West Virginia a place people want to come to. He says the new education reform law along with tax decreases of recent years will help with that but other areas need to be addressed.

“I think it’s important that we get out and learn what people are looking for when they come here, not one particular idea,” Thompson said.


bubble graphic


bubble graphic


  • waterman

    Along Rt.11 near the a 167th Air Guard Base
    a sign proudly points the way to the Rockefeller Science and Technologies Center. Once there, one will find vacant buildings formerly housing Jays' triumph of his trip to China, Sino-Swearingen, long since gone. Politically maneuvered deals usually end up a bust. Change the laws that keep good businesses away and see what happens.

    • C.Hoffman

      Thanks for the observation waterman. Your post speaks volumes and I agree with your analysis wholeheartedly.

  • ME

    Hey, Can I get on this "traveling" committee? I wont each much lol. This is pretty sad indeed.

  • Keefe

    Why not use the tax break money they would normally give to out of State companies and help instate people create businesses here. Now we would not even have to go out of state to find that out. The problem is WV is not a business friendly state to its own people.The rules and regulations some businesses have to follow is ridiculous but out of state businesses or chains do not have to follow. No that would mean common sense and some one is not getting a favor from someone else. The good ole boys of this state are not the good ole boys if you know what I mean. They got the hand out. We pay they play.

  • Irishman

    I see most are negative, and I understand, but the only way to see how states that are doing well is to travel to tjese states.....I say, there MUST BE tangible evidence of this working at bringing business into West Virginia in ONE YEAR. A year is long enough to show whether this idea works. I believe this is how we should always look at our elected officials: You bring in jobs, increase the population, and increase the tax base, you'll be re-elected. If nothing occurs that is're out because you obviously are not good at your job.

  • Joe

    What they should to do is simply schedule a day trip that they can drive to the night before in Indiana and stay in a Motel 6 or equivalent. Meet with the Indiana state chamber of commerce the next day to review the impact the right to work environment has significantly boosted their state economy, then come back and draft legislation.

  • WV Worker

    Great, another committee, another million and half study, for NOTHING. Great way to spend taxpayers money, outside of the state.
    What are business looking for when they come here its simple, tax breaks for 5 years and move out. For instance Call center in Welch, several years ago, gave them money, NEVER, NEVER, OPENED, didn't have the phone lines to make it work. Where did that money go? It left when the business left. Even remodeled the old hospital for them. If any business comes to the state it will be at the state line of Beckley and places on up North. You know where the roads that southern West Virginia built with serverance coal tax and the thanks of we will get to you all in a little while.

  • Joe

    Uh....and of course I'm just spitballing here, maybe passing right-to-work legislation.

  • Hop'sHip

    I'll bet they'll have a lot interested in learning about what Hawaii is doing. North Dakota, not so much.

  • Roger

    This is a joke, right? Am I reading the "Onion"?

  • Mike

    It's not Rocket Science Rick. You don't have to take tax payer paid out of state vacations to fix this. Utilize Staycations (in state) and during the day work to pass legislation to have a business friendly state i.e. tort reform. Going out of state and seeking ideas is not worth a hill of beans if the Business/Jobs don't have a business friendly environment to invest in. They are not dumb - they will just stay in the state their in.

  • Greg Mullins

    I agree with Barry. We as tax payers is now paying their vacation. This is a waste of tax payers money.

  • C.Hoffman

    Is this a joke? What a waste of taxpayer dollars. My dollars. lord kessler and baron thompson could improve WV immediately by resigning.

  • Barry Bledsoe

    Wow...another vacation paid for by WV taxpayers! Does this surprise anyone? I can bet that a Republican controlled legislature wouldn't go for this!