A variety of sources have been dropping tantalizing tidbits about a pending announcement concerning the Greenbrier Resort.  The Governor and key legislative leaders are sworn to secrecy; one source tells me they had to sign confidentiality agreements.

Even Jim Justice, the talkative owner of the famed resort, has been uncharacteristically reserved.

I’m told the reason for the security is that the announcement concerns the relocation of an existing facility in another state to the Greenbrier.  Supporters of the project worry that if word gets out before the details are finalized, it could upset the deal.

However, speculation centers on a couple of possibilities: a professional athletic training facility, an NFL team training camp or another golf tournament. (The Greenbrier is already home to a PGA TOUR event.)  The announcement, which could come as early as next week, is not a ski resort, though Justice reportedly has plans for that as well.

One source says the new Greenbrier project won’t be an economic “game changer,” but it will bring prestige to the Mountain State, along with more tourists.

Meanwhile, site preparation is underway on the Greenbrier property for the proposed Greenbrier Medical Institute.  That $250 million project is billed as a world-class medical complex with famed physician Dr. James Andrews at the helm.

Sources say the total investment of all three projects will be around $400 million.

Last week, the state Legislature approved two tax credit programs that will benefit the Greenbrier, as well as other travel and tourism businesses.  The bill (HB 4184) renewed the Tourism Development Act that provides for a tax credit of up to $25 million over ten years for certain large-scale projects.

Tax credits are a double-edged sword.  Proponents argue they are important government tools that encourage business.  The lost future tax dollars, they contend, are secondary to the economic gains from additional employment.

However, detractors say tax credits are tantamount to the government picking winners and losers.  The competitive balance is tilted when the state reduces the tax liability of one company or one industry, but not another.

Jim Justice has his critics, those who say he can be bombastic or is sometimes slow to pay his bills.  However, he has singlehandedly revitalized the Greenbrier with boat loads of his own money.  Without Justice, the state’s historic resort would probably be closed and the state would not have its best commercial to the rest of the world—the internationally broadcast PGA Tour Greenbrier Classic.

And now Justice is getting ready to write another big check.  We’ll find out soon just how big.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  • Hillbilly

    The possibilities: a professional athletic training facility, an NFL team training camp or another golf tournament. How do any of these bring jobs to WV? Possibly some temporary construction jobs, maybe here a couple years, then what? I see nothing except athletes renting housing (as in Greenbrier / Justice owned housing on the Greenbrier property) and spending money locally as about the only revenue involved. Golf tournaments fill up hotels for a week and get tourists to spend money but for the most part nothing benefits the residents.

  • mntnman

    Corporate welfare. That's what it is. Will it create good paying jobs? I don't know. Will it benefit WV? I don't know. Anyone who says they do know is guessing. But it is done. However, what I really don't like is the manner in which this passed -- last minute behind the woodshed dealing. It reeks.

    The fact is that Justice probably would have done these things without the tax break. He is trying to make money and improve upon The Greenbrier. So he is growing amenities and trying to make it more of a destination than it already is. He has a big investment and he is trying to make a buck. Good for him. He is not doing this out of the goodness of his heart, though. Those who think so are naive. He is trying to make money. OK by me. Lets not pretend this is simply because he loves WV. It may be A reason he decided to do this, but it is not THE reason. THE reason is to make money. Another reason to ask for tax breaks. To make money.

    I don't know the man, but I admire the fact that he is willing to spend his money to grow his business, which has helped Greenbrier County mostly, and WV some. I really don't know or care about his financial circumstance or the whys and wherefore for his doing all this. What I do care about is WV's future and the fairness of our tax situation. This process was not fair, as it was rushed through with no advance notice and little discussion. And it is giving a tax break to one of the wealthiest men in America, so he can make more money. Fair?

    I hope his two secret projects are breakthrough projects for WV, and bring us much fame and fortune. But more golf, or another tourist attraction do not fit those molds. The jobs need to be substantial, with benefits and at a living wage. I hope they are, but do not expect that. Otherwise, its just more of the same, and he got a $25 million break. With more to come, I suspect. Hope I'm wrong and they are enormous benefits to WV. Hope so.

    • Hughesknight

      The real question is how this credit operates. Is it really a tax credit or an equity investment by the state in the medical facility. Does the medical facility get the credit even when there is no tax liability?

    • Retired Charlie

      I suspect you are right.

  • Chris Fleming

    Justice is sanctioning the 4th of July Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest, bringing it to the Greenbrier and he's officially entering himself as the first contestant. Joey "Jaws" Chestnut will be on hand for the announcement. Fact.

    • TD

      I hope they hold off on the Hot Dog eating contest until the medical facility is ready, that way they can wheel the heart attack victims next door without ever leaving the property

    • Hop'sHip

      I might be supportive of this if it was a pepperoni roll contest.

      • who cares

        No one cares what YOU support.
        Why are you even here?
        Come back when you have something meaningful to say....

  • DWM

    As a small business owner who has never received a dime from the state, nor ever will I'm quite sure, I have problems with this decision.

    This is what is called crony capitalism. Where a person uses his power to get something his competitors could not. Crony capitalism is as harming to our economy as Obama's socialism.

    If these are good money making ideas, why does Justice need the State's 25 mil?

    • JimJim

      Don't you wish that you were rich?

    • The bookman

      I'm a small business owner and have never received a dime either. But I'm for this and here is why. Inherent in the principles of capitalism lies competition. These types of tax credits and incentives are the product of states and local governments competing for investor dollars. The best package gets the investment. I don't know if this is the best offer but just because he is Jim Justice and is wealthy beyond my personal grasp, he is worthy of receiving an incentive. We certainly are underwriting investments for Cabelas, Developers in various locations across WV, and Odebrecht. He has a successful track record in producing positive results, and he is investing his and other's private money. If the state can relieve his tax burden in the early years of this venture, the state will benefit in the long run if successful. If it fails, we have risked nothing.

      • Jason412

        I said this recently, but its worth repeating. By investing in Odebrecht we've not only provided a 10 year 95% tax break to the billion dollar cracker, we've also provided that huge tax break to basically any new plant built in WV. Marshall County lost 10 million in tax revenue this year alone due to the legislation. I get that we need to encourage business to move here, but considering the budget situation I question if we're going about it in the smartest way possible and how much revenue will be lost before the cracker facility is built and operating.

        Here's an article on it from a few weeks ago
        www .hsconnect.com/page/content.detail/id/595837/Gas-processors-find-tax-loophole. html?nav=5010
        (Take spaces out)

        Here's an article dscussing that

        • Aaron

          Marshall County residents have a legitimate gripe, particularly when you take into account the parking lots are full of cars with Ok, TX, LA, ND, SD and AK license plates meaning not only are they losing property taxes, there is no kick back in employee taxes of any sort.

          Far too long, we as a state have been willing to give any Tom, Dick and Harry a tax break at the mere suggestion of jobs.

          That mentality needs to stop. Future tax breaks need to be analyzed under the auspice of austerity in that for every tax dollar we give, we get in return.

          I believe Jim Justice truly loves the Greenbrier Valley and West Virginia. I understand he’s trying to create jobs in a section of the state that is in dire need and while I appreciate that, I also know that when those in Charleston start attacking the WV Code with an ax instead of a scalpel with no regard for the forest because they’re fixated on the trees, intended good is far too often shuffled down the path of waste and fraud.

          Transparency is the answer.

          • Aaron

            I have no reason not to believe he is on the up and up. That combined with the fact that it's difficult to imagine where The Greenbrier would be were it not for his investment is enough for me to give him the benefit of the doubt.

            We'll see if this tax fiasco changes any of that.

          • Hughesknight

            Excellent perspective Aaron. Although many would have a little more jaundiced view of Jim Justice than you would.

        • Sarah

          Think big picture:

          5% of 1 billion is 50 million
          95% of 0 is 0

          • Jason412

            Sarah,

            Think reality. 900 million spent this year, only 45 million of it taxed. None of that 900 million spent has anything to do with the cracker facility.

            The 95% break is fine to attract the cracker, but not to help every business that would have to build in WV anyways.

            If you read the article I linked, $20 million can be invested and receive the same tax break that was intended for a billion dollar investment.

            Wirewore's post pretty much sums up what I'm saying.

          • Wirerowe

            Do not need property tax breaks for processing plants

          • Wirerowe

            Cracker probably need the property tax break to compete. It can go anywhere. Do not need the property tax for processing plants . They need to be close to wet gas. Those plants should pay full boat on property tax. The law was too widely drawn to include them. Should be narrowed to include only ones that we have to compete for.

  • Aaron

    Here's my gripe. We are being told that this tax credit had to be maneuvered through the Legislature in the manner it was because top secret negotiations were ongoing and even the slightest hint of what was up could tip off the business Mr. Justice is seeking to locate to West Virginia.

    It has been implied that even the slightest hint of the circumstances surrounding the tax break being made public would somehow impede the progress of the said negotiations, perhaps killing them all together. Despite that fact, there has been rampant speculation on what the credit is for, including an NFL training camp, a professional training facility or another golf tournament.

    I understand that Mr. Justice and his supporters don't want to tip their hand but I think we've all been around long enough to know that if Mr. Justice is negotiating with "an existing facility in another state," individuals in the other state are more than likely aware of the negotiations.

    On the slim chance they are not, passing this tax in no way guarantees the move as more than likely and at the very latest, once the announcement is made public, the state/locality in which the entity is currently located will do everything in their power to keep them there.

    While I am not saying Mr. Justice' efforts are not on the up and up, I believe that as West Virginia's have been fleeced so many times by our legislatures in similar circumstances, there should have been more transparency in passing this tax break. An analysis as to what tax payers were getting in exchange for their tax break should have been completed and it should have been discussed during the session so that the voters could have weighed in.

    And that's my two cents.

    • CaptainQ

      +1

  • jay zoom

    HOPEFULLY THIS DEAL WILL FALL THROUGH because the only person who will benefit from this will be Jim Justice and not the state if West Virginia. or so it seems. If it becomes reality. I hope it has a huge parking lot so Oliver Luck can stand out there and collect $20.00 per car for parking.

  • The Grim Repo-Man

    ...... and while Hoppy is using his media voice and himself as Jimmy's personal PR firm I get to go once AGAIN and try to collect the THOUSANDS of dollars Jimmy owes my small, family owed business.

    • Arimus

      Hoppie even winks at JJ's "slow to pay" personality in the article. The man and his companies (prior to the sale to the Ruskies) had an almost comical, notorious reputation of being slow to pay or NOT paying at all. I don't understand why the man gets a free pass on the past just because he essentially hit the lottery with the Russians.

    • Retired Charlie

      Hoppy only sees Justice with his make-up on. He does see the lower life, back-stabbing, cheating weasel that we who live in Greenbrier County, see.
      How can anyone as smart as Hoppy be fooled so easily? Why would he want to carry Justice's water for free?

    • The Grim Repo-Man

      Owned

  • rick

    This is almost as big a "secret" as there is no longer a bunker under the hotel. This project has been under construction for some time.

  • Let's see

    Let's see..125 new jobs? Will these workers be from West Virginia, Mexico or the Philippines? I don't like the fact that WV is giving tax breaks to Mr. Justice so that he can hire non-West Virginians..we will have to wait and see..

    • Brian

      125 new jobs won't be filled by West Virginians. Justice needed some jobs for the families of the high school players he brings in from overseas.

      • T to the C

        People don't seem to understand they HAVE to get interns because either the workforce is on drugs here or the jobs are 'below' them. At least get it straight, haters.

  • Mister G!

    Swears of secrecy. Confidentiality agreements. Hoppy drooling. It's already beginning to feel anticlimactic...

  • TD

    Be great if he'd buy Snowshoe instead of building a ski resort, Intrawest did a lot of good by transforming the resort but now just drain the profits off for other corporate projects elsewhere instead of being the real economic benefit Pocahontas County needs. I personally know several long time employees who were forced out just because they had finally gotten in a position to make a decent living there (a couple of the guys had 25+ years with the resort). As for the new project at the Greenbrier, hope it is big and bold and a real benefit to the county and state.

  • Brian

    Ok. I'll give Justice an A for effort and he did land a golf tournament. But the "site prep" for this multimillion dollar medical facility consists of 1 track hoe and a D5 that have been pushing dirt "back and forth", as another poster on the news article stated. It's hard to take him seriously. Ask any local and you'll get the same answer. And let's not forget the train from DC to WSS that Manchin, Rahall and Rockefeller hyped up so much. He was 7 million into that 15 million project before someone informed him he needed right-of-way agreements with the NS and CSX. They, of course, said no, as did Amtrak. That's why that engine is now a display piece.

    Let's not get too excited yet. Talk is cheap.

  • Steve

    I think its going to be the 2016 Democratic National Convention. After all they have not carried the state for the last four presidential elections.

  • Cody

    What about the talk it will be a place for professional athletics to receive medical attention/physical therapy when they have been injured? Yep, I think that may be coming...

  • Coalwiz

    Hoppy, He does do good things......but "writing checks" isn't one of Jim's better qualities!

    • billyed

      This Billionaire Fat Cat wants 25 Million, and
      is always asking for State and Federal Gov. welfare. The GOP are tripping over there selves to hand it over to Billionaire's, Corporations, Big Banks and Wall Street.
      Why are the GOP always ready to cut
      25 thousand from a needy Mom and her Child, funding from the Elderly, Education and expecting the middle class and poor to pay more taxes?

      • Wowbagger

        Justice's lobbyest for the tax break was Larry Puccio who is a freind and former Chief of Staff of Joe Manchin and current Democratic Party Chairman. The Democrats are in their crony capitalist phase, both nationally and in West Virginia.

        The whole Amnesty movement is about crony capitalism and importing a permanent Democrat voting block. If it passes it will do immesurable harm to today's middle and lower class citizens by driving down their income producing potential.

        • joeyjojo

          exactly. Amazing how truly clueless some people are.

        • Randal Smithson

          If this is such a great thing, WHY DID THEY SNEEK IT THRU IN THE LAST HOURS OF THE LEGISLATURE?????????

      • Medman

        billy, You probably missed the fact that the largest increase in middle class taxes and penalties in the past 12 years were passed by Obama in the ACA law.

        • Charleston

          Actually, the largest tax increase as a percentage of GDP occurred with the Revenue Act of 1951, which belongs to the Truman administration.

          http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/07/no-obamacare-not-biggest-tax-increase-history

          • Aaron

            I wonder how much of that would change if the US would adjust the corporate tax rate down from 40%?

          • Charleston

            Meanwhile U.S- based, multinational companies are stockpiling cash overseas to avoid paying taxes.

            http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-12/cash-abroad-rises-206-billion-as-apple-to-ibm-avoid-tax.html

        • Hop'sHip

          I missed this "fact" too. Where can I learn more?

          • FungoJoe

            Hopshipster,
            Leave me out of your name calling. I fight this blight on Americans called progressivism/socialism from a different perspective now. Walking the walk. Not talking the talk on here and bumpin' noggins with idiots. Started a business. Selling targets to hunters, gun owners, NRA members, and the like with the banner "Wanted For Treason" and a picture of Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid in the crosshairs or with bullseye numbers. I've made a killing. No pun intended. God bless the Second Amendment and Capitalism!!

          • Hop'sHip

            Fungo or Repo-man. Please suggest a reputable source. I believe that is all I was asking for. The Medman may have been right on this but I just wanted to know the basis of his claim.

          • Aaron

            Brandon Merritt wrote a piece on the WV Center for Budget and Policy's web site that detailed how raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75 would push "perhaps tens of thousands off of Medicaid” because their income would then make them ineligible for Medicaid.

            Once off Medicaid, they would then be eligible for government healthcare via the ACA through the federal market place. He emphasized affordable.

            "And I truly mean affordable. For example, the cashier who now earns around $18,000 a year would not have to spend more than 4.3 percent of his income on health insurance. This means that he could find a silver level Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield plan on the state exchange for $65 per month. Plus, he’d qualify for substantial assistance in out-of-pocket costs like co-pays and deductibles."

            A silver play, I believe provides the insured what we commonly call a Cadillac plan that pays 70% of visits once deductibles are met. This high deductible play was more common in the construction industry and with small businesses because it was the most affordable to the employee, costing on average $500-$600 per month, which the employee would pay 35% to 45%.

            As Mr. Merritt pointed out, of the plan amount, the employee is only paying $65 per month. Who do you suppose is paying for the remaining $400 or more per month plus the assistance the individual is receiving for his co-pay and deductibles?

          • The Grim Repo-Man

            If you would indulge yourself with a NEWS source other than one taken directly and indirectly from the talking points of Jay TheCarney then you may come to know one or two things.

      • Medman

        billy, How do you explain the fact that Obama appointed Jack Lew a Wall Street hedge fund manager to head up Treasury and he received almost double the amount of campaign donations as Romney from Wall Street?

        • Hop'sHip

          Are you claiming here that Obama received twice the Wall Street campaign donations of Romney's for 2012? Could you provide your source for this information? I hope it isn't the debunked American Future Fund. If you think Wall Street favors this president, maybe you should go by on-Medsman. He hurt their feelings.

          • Charleston

            Bookman: Right in 2008. Not as much in 2012, but they did support him.

          • Charleston

            Yes the financial sector is "Pro-Obama".

            http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2012/may/24/american-future-fund/american-future-fund-wall-street-obama/

          • The bookman

            HH: I have to agree HH for the 2012 campaign. In 2008 Obama did out earn by a slim margin, but not against Romney in 2012. I think it was 60/40 for Romney if memory serves correct.

          • Hop'sHip

            Did you even read that article, Chas? It was about one firm - Bain Capital. And it included this statement:
            "As of Dec. 21, fundraising reports show Bain employees gave $123,000 to the Democratic National Committee in 2011...The Democratic fundraising advantage, however, was offset by at least $750,000 that Bain Capital employees gave to Restore Our Future, a pro-Romney super-PAC, in 2011."

            Both sides are beholden to Wall Street, I agree. But do you seriously believe the financial sector is pro-Obama? You do know Obama has proposed ending the tax advantage given to so-called "carried interest"? But as to Medman's broad claim:

            http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2012/may/24/american-future-fund/american-future-fund-wall-street-obama/

          • Charleston

            HH:
            Ask and thou shall receive.
            However, I am sure this will not sway your opinion. Have a good day!

            http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/01/democrats-received-over-twice-much-bain-cash-republicans-did-romney-obama

      • fed up

        excuse me, but it was your Democratic friends, especially Ron Miller, D from Greenbrier county who pushed for this tax break- and Gov Tomblin is all to happy to sign it,,,