Charleston West Virginia Economic Development

Discussions on Economic and Community Development in West Virginia and the Charleston MSA as well as issues of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


The West Virginia Metro Chamber Coalition, representing an estimated 5,000 business, professional and community leaders, today released its first legislative agenda.

The coalition, comprised of the Charleston, Huntington and Morgantown Chambers of Commerce, will focus its efforts during the 2008 legislative session on municipal pension funding; home rule options; investment in the state’s scientific research infrastructure; economic development incentives; conducting an objective study of the state’s legal climate; and health insurance options for chamber members.

The strategic alliance was formed in August 2007 to identify emerging issues of common concern to businesses in their communities and implement coordinated legislative and other advocacy efforts to address them. The three chambers bring together a network of thousands of business, professional and community leaders concerned about building a better future for our state and its cities.

“We are pleased that many of the issues of importance to our members, such as investment in research and development and economic development strategies, were highlighted in Governor Manchin’s ‘State of the State’ address,” said Matt Ballard, President/CEO of the Charleston Chamber.

“We hope that by working together, metro coalition members can help these initiatives become reality for our state,” added Matt Cybulski, interim President/CEO of the Morgantown Chamber Chamber.

The West Virginia Metro Chamber Coalition is intended to supplement the efforts of the state chamber in advancing the agenda of the state’s business community. “This is a group of colleagues working together on opportunities to enhance economic growth and quality of life in our communities,” explained Mark Bugher, President/CEO of the Huntington Chamber.

The West Virginia Metro Chamber Coalition’s Core Agenda for the 2008 legislative session focuses on:

Incentives for economic development. The coalition believes that the State of West Virginia needs to offer more incentives to businesses to locate and expand here. These incentives could include but not be limited to grants, no or low interest loans, tax incentives, and training.

Investment in research. The coalition believes the State of West Virginia can create significant economic development opportunities by increased investment in university based and directed research at the state's two research institutions, West Virginia University and Marshall University.

Municipal pensions. The coalition believes that legislation must be passed to ease the strain of municipal pensions on the state’s cities without additional business taxes.

Health insurance. The coalition supports the development of a quality, affordable health insurance program that can be offered to small business chamber members.

Home rule. The coalition recommends that more home rule options be available to communities, provided that any resulting changes in tax structure do not shift an additional tax burden to the business community.

Study of the state’s legal climate. The coalition supports, and will help fund, the development of an independent study to assess the true legal climate of the state and benchmark the state’s legal climate with our surrounding states.

Each local chamber of commerce in West Virginia is an independent organization. The West Virginia Metro Chamber Coalition is a collaborative effort between three of the largest chambers in the state to advance the public policy issues of interest to the urban areas of West Virginia. The coalition is committed to improving the business climate throughout the state.


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