West Virginia House of Delegates’ small business committee hopes to ‘make a big difference’

Small Business Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Committee holds organizational meeting

By Erika Diehl, WV Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Members of the West Virginia House of Delegates’ Small Business Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Committee, many of whom are small business owners, gathered for introductions Wednesday at 10 a.m.

“Economy runs on small business,” Delegate Phil Mallow, R–Marion, said.  He believes the committee needs to be open to everything. “If we don’t have that revenue… nothing else matters.”

There was bipartisan emphasis on the importance of meeting the desperation felt from the pandemic, while also promoting an entrepreneurial atmosphere in West Virginia.

The committee is chaired by Delegate Ben Queen, R-Harrison, with Delegate Kayla Young, D-Kanawha, serving as the minority chair.

Delegate Ben Queen

Republicans said their focus will be on removing impediments for starting a business. They are also looking to implement attractive legislation for those working remotely to take up residence in West Virginia.

Delegate George Miller, R-Morgan, suggested putting contracted renovation and repairs in the same category as new construction, which is not taxed.

Creating a small business tax credit for hiring individuals graduating from or enrolled in a drug corp program and freeing up restraints for opening a business out of the home are both ideas of Delegate Josh Holstein, R-Boone.

Democrats are hoping to create incentives to bring more business owners here and build funds to support them.

Delegate Young expects to propose a bill, which is working in Texas, where business employees are immediately eligible for in state tuition for their kids.

Delegate Kayla Young

Looking to establish a new normal across the nation, Delegate Jim Barach, D-Kanawha, is determined to protect local businesses by adding a surcharge to any online sales that come from out of state. All funds would go directly into the promotion of small businesses.

Delegate Dana Ferrell, R-Kanawha, closed out the introduction with a clear message. “This committee has an opportunity to make a big difference.”

Individual areas are dynamic and therefore have individual needs, Ferrell said. He believes we need a strategic plan to move West Virginia forward and we need to work together.

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