During the last day of the 2010 Legislative Session, Delegate Terry Walker (D- Jefferson) celebrated the passage of a bill that will benefit the housing market in the Eastern Panhandle.
Senate Bill 397 completed legislative action and made its way to the Governor’s desk for consideration. It will require the Tax Commissioner to create a single dwelling residential housing index for the state.
A single dwelling home is defined as one, detached house in a residential area. The Commissioner will create a list of the average and median cost of all single dwelling homes in the state, as well as a housing index multiplier.
An index multiplier quantifies the relationship between the change in one economic quantity and the change in another directly related economic quantity. In this case, it aids in relating the difference in cost-of-living for the state of West Virginia.
“I became interested in this because, as those residents in the Eastern Panhandle know, our cost-of-living is much higher than that of other areas,” Delegate Terry Walker said. “It’s important for the West Virginia Legislature to realize this and, hopefully, start doing something about it.”
Delegate Walker went on to explain the average cost of a home in Jefferson or Berkeley County is higher than that of the entire state, and the new housing index will reflect those numbers. The Tax Commissioner will annually report the index and multiplier to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance, as well as make the reports available for public view.
“Many of the residents in my counties work outside of the state just to be able to afford those homes, so because of the cost of living we are losing a lot of good workers to higher paying, out-of-state jobs,” Delegate Walker said. “If we could level the playing field, we can stabilize the cost-of-living and get some employment opportunities back into West Virginia.”