West Virginia has the nation’s third-lowest cost of doing business. Here are some reasons why:
- West Virginia's skilled workers are among the nation’s most productive – and turn-over rates are some of the lowest in the country.
- West Virginia’s electric rates are among the lowest in the nation.
- West Virginia exports two-thirds of the electricity it generates.
- The state is the leading exporter of natural gas as a percent of total production east of the Mississippi.
- West Virginia ranks second in the U.S. for coal production, at 150 million tons per year.
- The state has an abundant water supply, with most areas providing in excess of 250,000 gallons per day of water capacity.
Meanwhile, sound fiscal management and a business-friendly environment make West Virginia attractive to investors. Consider these recent accomplishments:
- West Virginia closed its 2010 fiscal year with a surplus of more than $102 million; the fifth year in a row with a surplus – without a tax increase. Additionally, through the first six months of fiscal year 2011, West Virginia was $160 million ahead of projected tax collections.
- West Virginia has one of the strongest Rainy Day funds of any state, which will reach 17 percent of the state’s General Revenue Fund Budget this year ($632 million in the account).
- West Virginia is one of only 18 states that has not had to borrow federal funds to pay unemployment compensation benefits.
- For the second year in a row, a national rating agency has upgraded West Virginia’s credit rating on its general obligation debt. Moody’s Investors Service elevated the state’s credit rating from “Aa2” up to “Aa1.” Fitch Ratings gave an “AA” rating to the state’s general obligation debt; “A+” to West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s outstanding Community and Technical Colleges' capital improvement revenue bonds; and “A+” to West Virginia Economic Development Authority’s lottery revenue bonds. Both rating agencies cited the state’s continued fiscal discipline, strong financial performance and continued progress in addressing long-term liabilities, particularly during the current economic downturn.
- West Virginia removed approximately $91 million of business tax burden in FY 2010 and over $235 million during the past five years.
- West Virginia moved up 20 places in Forbes’ “Business Costs” category in the magazine’s annual ranking of the “Best States for Business.” The ‘Business Costs’ category is the most important single factor a company uses in determining the location of a facility. West Virginia ranked 25th in 2007, but moved up to being ranked 5th in 2010.
- A 2.9 percent decrease in Workers’ Compensation insurance rates took effect on November 1, 2010. Overall rates have declined 43.7 percent since the privatization of the system on January 1, 2006.
- The Business Franchise Tax will be eliminated by 2015 (currently 0.34 percent).
- Corporate Net Income Tax rate will be reduced to 6.5 percent by 2014 (currently 8.5).
- West Virginia is one of only four states to be awarded an “A” by the Cato Institute’s Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors: 2010. The report found that the state’s economy has done well under its fiscal policies of business tax cuts and frugal budgeting.