CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It took Greenbrier Resort owner Jim Justice just two days to get a possible 10-year tax credit through the state legislature. Members of the House and Senate gave the plan final approval Saturday night, the last night of the 60-day session.
The measure (HB 4184) has been talked about behind the scenes for several weeks but it was presented to the Senate Finance Committee for the first time Friday. It provides a 25 percent tax credit that would be credited over 10 years and be limited to $2.5 million annually. The tax break would be against the Corporate Net Income Tax and it would be for the $90 million state-of-the-art medical facility Justice plans to open near the resort.
“We’re talking about jobs now,” Sen. Finance Committee Chairman Roman Prezioso told fellow senators Saturday night. “None of this goes into play until there’s 125 jobs to come into place. Obviously we’ve done a lot this session–I don’t know if there’s any other major jobs bill that we’ve addressed.”
The Senate passed the bill and sent it back to the House, which didn’t contest the changes the Senate made to the original House bill, namely the Greenbrier amendment.
The plan had its detractors in Senate.
“This gives me a lot of concern because we’re dealing with the rich and providing tax credits,” Sen. Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, said.
Randolph County Sen. Clark Barnes blamed Jim Justice for killing a proposal for a casino and golf course in Pendleton County during the 2013 session. Barnes was incredulous that Justice was now seeking a tax credit so late in the session.
“I might have been for this project if you would have come in on day one with all of the shiny brochures and actually given us a presentation. But here, with two days left to go, we come with lobbyists that are going to control the actions of this Senate. That’s a shame,” Barnes said.
But Greenbrier County Sen. Ron Miller said The Greenbrier Medical Institute would bring in world-renown doctors and patients from around the world. He said Justice is also planning two other projects. He said all three total a $400 million investment.
“We’re given an unbelievable opportunity to move our state forward with jobs and worldwide distinction,” Miller said.
The bill heads to the governor’s desk.