Since becoming your governor four years ago, improving our business climate to encourage job creation has been my number one priority. The fact that we successfully competed for the U.S. headquarters of an international company such as Diamond Electric shows these efforts are paying off.
We’ve worked to create a climate where companies are encouraged to innovate, expand and create new jobs, and companies around the world are noticing the changes we’ve made. For the third straight year, we’ve cut business taxes. We’ve reduced workers’ compensation costs by more than 60 percent, and this year, businesses operating in West Virginia saw a 10th straight reduction in worker’s compensation premiums. We’ve stabilized our employment trust funds, we’re tackling our debts, strengthening our education system, and we are one of the most fiscally responsible states in the country.
As we continue to take these important steps, we are committed to improving educational programs and increasing opportunities to ensure our state’s growth and economic success. Our middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities and community and technical colleges have stepped up to the task of finding ways to strengthen our state’s skilled and capable workforce. We are making every effort to help companies investing in West Virginia grow by supporting their future.
During my trade mission to Japan in 2012, I met with companies who expressed interest in relocating and expanding their operations in West Virginia. Since then, companies including Hino Motors, Nippon Thermostat, NGK Spark Plugs, Wheeling-Nisshin, Toyota and Diamond Electric have invested more than $136 million in the Mountain State. Today, West Virginia is home to more than 20 Japanese companies providing stable, good paying jobs for more than 2,500 West Virginia workforce.
Mr. Hironori Kurita, president of Diamond Electric Manufacturing Corporation, said it best: “We are happy to tell everyone that the people make the difference in West Virginia. They make us strong and they give us pride … we are happy to be here.”
I appreciate the continued confidence business and industry leaders, like Diamond Electric and Mr. Kurita, have shown in our state, and I am confident companies around the world will continue to notice the good work we are doing in the Mountain State. This week, our state took another step forward on the path toward a brighter future. That’s something every West Virginian can take pride in.