“This is an issue that merits the concentration of a special committee,” House Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, said. “However anyone feels about the stimulus package itself, the money is going to be available to us, so the House has decided to be proactive and look for ways to wisely spend this one-time money.”
West Virginia stands to gain close to $1.38 billion from the economic stimulus spending plan signed by President Obama on Tuesday.
“This package presents an opportunity to positively affect our economy,” the Speaker said. “Keeping in mind this money should not be tied to any long-term obligation, we must leverage every possible dollar in the most creative and cost-effective means possible.”
He noted that there may be matching funds to draw down, and there are tax ramifications to consider.
As laid out in House Resolution 8, which was adopted by the House Tuesday, the committee will “review legislation, receive testimony, evaluate and recommend action to the Speaker of the House relating to all issues relevant to any stimulus legislation passed into law by the federal government, including, but not limited to, achieving the maximum economic impact of the federal stimulus legislation for the State of West Virginia, ascertaining all requirements necessary to leverage available federal funds, recommending those projects and sectors that provide the best opportunity for long term job creation and economic growth, providing for transparency of government spending, and assuring equality and fairness in economic opportunities created by the federal stimulus legislation.”
The committee will be chaired by Delegate Nancy Guthrie, D-Kanawha. Other members are Delegate Sam Cann, D-Harrison; Delegate Tim Ennis, D-Brooke; Delegate Clif Moore, D-McDowell; and Delegate Robert Schadler, R-Mineral.
“Delegate Guthrie is very diligent and is eager to get to work and I am confident that all the members of this important committee are up to the task,” Speaker Thompson said. “I look forward to following the committee’s progress.”