An oil and gas rally in Charleston, West Virginia, on March 21 attracted several hundred industry workers to the steps of the state Capitol.
State Senate President Mitch Carmichael and House Speaker Tim Armstead addressed the crowd, telling those in attendance the Legislature was doing what it could to help create jobs in the industry.
Carmichael said legislators need to do more to help boost employment for West Virginians and help the state economy.
Armstead, a fourth-generation member of his family to have worked in the oil and gas industry, said the House and Senate are working on legislation designed to help oil and gas producers.
“We have a very strong group of advocates for your industry in this Legislature,” Armstead said. “Together we’ll continue to build a strong economy for our state,” he told the crowd.
Gov. Jim Justice used the rally to push his budget and economic recovery plan for the state.
Justice proposes increases in sales and business taxes, increasing taxes on the very wealthy and some budget cuts to dig the state out of a $450 million deficit. He also proposes a massive road-building project he believes can put 48,000 people to work, reported the West Virginia State Journal.
“We need to create a vehicle to create instant jobs,” Justice said.
State Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher said the administration is working on a partnership with governors in Ohio and Pennsylvania to pool resources and create a secondary industry creating “value-added products” from oil and gas.