An artist's rendering of the Greenbrier Medical Institute first announced in August 2011.
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An artist's rendering of the Greenbrier Medical Institute first announced in August 2011.

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.

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Comments

  • Shadow

    It would be nice to read the Business Plan for this Medical Institute. My first question, after reading it, would be: Where are you going to get World Famous Doctors to come to the Greenbrier? There is no established infrastructure to support it. Sorta makes you wonder what the real reason is?

    • The bookman

      According to the original story, he already has a commitment from a doctor that meets that description. Dr. James Andrews and associates have committed 3 days on site upon completion of the clinic.

      http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Andrews_(physician)

      Justice is financing the $90M on his own, so what is the big problem, aside from he is rich?

      • Shadow

        One Doctor does not make a World Class Medical Facility. Now, what is the real reason?

        • The bookman

          No, but they are building a $90M complex to house the clinic. No state dollars to finance it. No risk to the state as no tax credit issued until it turns a profit. That credit must be drawn against the corporate net income tax due. And the credit cannot exceed $2.5M for 10 yrs and a maximum of $25M over the period. Do you think he would risk HIS $90M if he thought it would fail? The state cannot lose. So why are you against it?

          • Shadow

            I am not against it. He can spend his money for whatever he wants. It just seems that it is an unworkable idea that is not supported by the infrastructure or reason so I wonder what his real purpose is. If he made it a stock company, I wouldn't invest a dime if I didn't know the alternatives.

  • jay zoom

    jobs may be created but they will all go to out of state personnel who are employed by the out of state companies who will win the bid for the projects projected. "hide and watch" any job for West Virginians will be minimum wage when its all said and done.

  • cb

    It amazes me how many people are republican in this state, up until the point a republican choice is made. Then its hold up wait a minute this is unbelievable they gave tax breaks to wealthy.

  • Wowbagger

    Hmmm...

    The previous article about the Greenbrier tax credit mentioned that Larry Puccio, Chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party is also Jim Justices' paid lobbyist. This just might be the reason that this bill was introduced and passed so quickly with little objection.

    Also interesting is that Mr Jenkins dropped this inconvenient fact from this article.

  • Fatpossoms

    Hoppy you need the lobbyists and lawyers that wrote this bill and pushed for it on the show to explain this tax credit in detail, and specifically why the tax credits jumps from 25% to 35% for a property that is next to a national forest. What is the relevance of a national forest? Why did they not just say that the initials of the city where a project is located has to be WSS in order to get the 35%. This is not believable.

  • WV Woker

    Why is tax breaks always associated with jobs. They gave the gas companies breaks, hired outside people, they gave oil company breaks, outside people hired, every construction company that is working on any tax break project hires outside people or brings their own. WHY. Aren't West Virginia people good enough. Don't you dare scream drugs not everybody in this state is a drug addict. The companies bring their own people and 2 or 3 years down the road we are in the shape we are in today. Not enough money to go around. The state gives way to many tax breaks. If they want the jobs and they want to build, one or two years of breaks is enough. Not a lifetime. Why not give the dam working people of WV a tax break. I sure could use it. Or wait, I forgot the working people can't give our elected officials' big dinners, money for re-elections and other favors.

    • thornton

      Always someone whining abut those lost "gas" jobs....WV W appears to partially define why it happens.

      I suspect that this particular deal saw the big man's hands on some throats but I also suspect that the region will benefit....that is what tax breaks are...tradeoffs.

      Stop whining.....I would guess that Pendleton casino had some hands on politico necks as well....just not as big. Same as the project and the potential, comparably.

      • WV Worker

        I am not whining about the darn gas jobs its the fact that every time someone wants a tax break they promise JOBS. But no jobs come to the area. The workers come to work, stay in their campers and go home on Friday with their paychecks. I could care less about Pendleton casino , I care about not having money to may ends met at the end of a fiscal period. The state has to borrow with the clause of never paying back from the rainy day fund as it is now. How many people with this place hire? At the most 125 but look at the overall tax break 10 years. And no doubt as in the past after a few years there will be a cut back on those workers. Think for a minutes a project on the Greenbrier property, people come to stay with the patients, the visitors stay at the Greenbrier, they gamble, eat, spend their money at the Greenbrier who wins this game. Mr. Justice with his 10 year tax break. Tax breaks is going to put WV in the same shape as CA and other broke states.

  • derekaw

    One of the biggest con artist in WV

    • Wowbagger

      Oh,

      To quote my west Texas grandmother: "money doesn't care who it belongs to"!

    • Wowbagger

      Yep, but if the Mechel Steel people can't find as big a sucker as Justice did in them they just might send someone to take their losses out of Justice's hide. I understand that business practices are a little harsher in Russia than we are used to here.

      Mr Justice is undoubtedly West Virginia's biggest living con artist and is still at it!

  • Billy

    I feel soory for all the companies that have to sue Justice to get paid for the materials and services that the provide for his companies. I wonder how much he will try to cheat companies out of while spending the 400 million. I know of several that he has tried to get them to take half and settle out of court. I do mot consider these type of practices honest.

  • Realist

    WV has the proud distinction of being almost dead last in every meaningful metric of state rankings. Five years running WV has been voted the most miserable state to live in and that is because the rankings only go back five years.

    When you find a guy like Jim Justice who has made meaningful differences in WV, such as saving the resort from bankruptcy, bringing in The Greenbrier Classic, making a multi million dollar contribution to the BSA and many other acts of kindness that are nameless, it is always the few petty contrarians who complain. They are too narrow minded see the millions of dollars in salaries the clinic will produce beyond this initial tax credit. The on going payroll of the resort, the ongoing tourism dollars of the tournament and the jobs and tourism dollars at Bechtel. Bravo Jim, keep it up and please disregard all these ankle biters.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      Yes, millions of Middle Class West Virginia tax dollars going to million dollar salaries that will, in all probability, be sent out of state. We'll rank fiftieth in the little known category "Percentage of People Who Can Afford Taxpayer Subsidized Pleasures Designed for the Upper Less-Than-One-Percent of Their Own State".

      I hope someone in the media does a little research to find out how much influence peddling the lobbyi$t$ distributed to ram this through. Anyone who works should be angry.

      A real "Gem" of legislation, compliments of the West Virginia Legi$lature, truly the best money can buy.

      • The bookman

        Could you be any more uninformed? Contrary certainly defines you well sir.

        • Mason County Contrarian

          Sir, how am I "uninformed"? We may disagree, but I do not consider myself "uninformed" no more than you.

          As a taxpayer, I am dismayed by the lack of state government responsiveness to the needs of the people of our blessed state. It is clear that when someone obviously with deeper pockets than ninety-nine percent of West Virginians needs a little stroke, the Legi$lature cannot do enough, nor can they do it too quickly.

          Consider our quality of life, sir.
          Our infrastructure is collapsing, unemployment is rampant, our environment is laid at the altar of development, corrupt politician$ are strangling our state, our state budget resembles Swiss cheese, and the ability of state government to do anything to react in a crisis is doubted. LBJ once lamented that there are a lot of lions in the room but the difficulty is in recognizing them. How true.

          I seriously doubt extending a tax break to patricians was a positive way to deal with any of the aforementioned problems, sir. The Legi$lature's action only exacerbates the problems facing the people of our state and reinforces the belief that government exists only for the privileged. With each tax break given The Middle Class will be the solution to the revenue shortfall, to plug the holes in that piece of Swiss cheese to which I alluded earlier.

          "Uninformed"? Then, guilty as charged, sir.

          • The bookman

            MCC,

            First, you continue to put forward that this bill does for Jim Justice what it doesn't do for others. Not true.

            Second, Jim Justice has the vision and resources to bring a $90M project to SE WV that will create jobs and improve the local and state economy.

            Third, tax credits against investment that lead directly to job creation are common place throughout the world, not just WV.

            Fourth, being contrary is a state of mind, not a state of being. It is very easy to demean a person of wealth and influence. But next time, please try to look beyond what is easy and attempt to see the enormous benefits of investing in the future of our state's economy. Attracting business to grow, especially from within, should be applauded, especially when it isn't a give away. The bill requires that the state receives in excess the amount given in credits, not to exceed 25 million over ten years.

            Read the bill. Look at its progression through the legislature and see if what I say is not true. I think you'll find what I have found , that it's simple job creation using tax incentives. Nothing more, nothing less.

          • Bagehot

            Tax credits are given as an incentive for an entity to do something that will produce favorable results above and beyond the value of the credit. In this case building a world class health facility that will provide health care to state and in state citizens and good paying (non minimum) wage jobs. So the question is will this tax credit as a matter of public policy do that. Remember the credit does not kick in until 125 jobs are created. As a matter of past projects this is usually 1/3 of anticipated full staffing. So if this is the case and one looks 10 years down the road and the center is paying its share of taxes and 375 jobs are created was this a good investment? Or was it better to do nothing and encourage nothing?
            People get understandably upset with the WV government, but remember, we are the people who keep sending these same pols year after year to Charleston but occasionally they do the right thing.4

  • Mighty Mighty Devil

    I guess the big question here is, how many good basketball players will Jim be able to recruit for East with all these new jobs?

  • jay zoom

    Is Oliver Luck got a hand in this where he can charge $20.00 to park at this facility.

  • Aaron

    And here I thought they said Wednesday a week ago was the last day to introduce a bill that would allow it to cross chambers and make it to the governors desk.

    While I'm uncertain about the tax, mostly because I've not studied it enough, I don't particularly care for the tactics.

    West Virginia voters should have had an opportunity to comment on this tax cut without it being rammed through the Legislature in the last two days.

    • The bookman

      The bill was introduced on Jan 15th. Passed the house on Feb 26, 97-0. The senate didn't act until late. The issues were surrounding the technical aspects of tax credits as they relate to medical facilities, thus the change. That's how it got through, as most of the mechanics of passing the legislation were complete before we heard a thing about it.

      • Aaron

        Was this part of a larger bill or does it deal directly with Jim Justice's facility alone?

        I don't oppose tax credits as incentives per say but I do think they can be overused.
        As the issue can very confusing to most, I think anytime a government issues them, they should be required to list the total tax breaks given as well as the incentives used to justify them.

        • The bookman

          It appears that the bill was intended to re-authorize a tax credit related to tourism. I believe they realized late in the game that there were technical problems with the bill related to sales tax and medical facilities fee collection that required a late change to the bill.

          • Mason County Contrarian

            The taxpayers have been used again, plain and simple.

            "Job creators": just another word for "extortionists".

  • Fatpossums

    Jim Justice has done a lot of good things. He also screws everyone he works with. Why should the Governor and legislature be any different? His entourage of lobbyists , head of a political party and lawyers is the same as those of WVU. Those fat possums run at night. Tax credits are bad. Tax credits for one taxpayer are horrible.

    • Mountain Navy

      My daughter lives near the Greenbrier resort from what she says and her husband the resort is not a good place to work. Cutthroat.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Told you two days ago Gem (Jim) that you had no worries. Classic political strategy--with all the hoopla, wait until the last minute and then inundate your target with a tidal wave of lobbyi$ts.

    Money talks, everything else walks.

    Ninety-nine percent of West Virginians can't even afford to visit your establishment. I can't wait to see the gilded bedpans of you renowned medical facility. Will you accept welfare medical cards?

    125 jobs? With a $2.5 million/year tax break? That's $20,000/employee/year. What a deal! Lobbyi$ts and the West Virginia Legi$lature securing a tax break--and Joe Sixpack footing the bill. Trickle-on economics at its worst.

    ERT needs to do the right thing and veto the bill. So what will you do, Earl?

    • derekaw

      Remember everyone that voted for this on election day!!!

  • Mister G!

    The session ain't over 'til the fat man gleans.