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West Virginia’s manufacturers form the foundation of communities across the state. Manufacturing in our state has an economic output of $7.5 billion and employs 50,000 West Virginians in generational jobs who make the products America relies on.

For years, our great state has touted affordable energy. But the truth is that, while electricity prices in the PJM Interconnection (the grid in which West Virginia is one of 13 states) are competitive, our state arguably has missed out on benefits of competition because of traditional regulation that, among other things, requires ratepayers to bear the burden of costs for utility-owned power plants.

Across the regional grid that West Virginia shares, independent power producers bring on affordable wholesale power generation that is sold to the grid as needed. This has not only lowered prices for other states across the interconnection, but emissions, as well.

You may have seen that some members of Congress are attempting to generate funds for infrastructure development by raising corporate tax rates. WVMA is no stranger to infrastructure development, but I want to emphasize that there are parts of this plan that will do more harm than good.

The effect of corporate tax fluctuations impact not only manufacturers and small businesses, but also job creation and economic activity. I’ve recently written about this — as West Virginia’s communities continue toward recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that our legislators continue to consider tax reforms that encourage business growth and development in order to foster job creation and help workers navigate the post-pandemic landscape.

West Virginia is on a clear path to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. One especially promising milestone is the news that more than 680,000 West Virginians have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines. And legislators in Charleston wisely considered tax reforms that will make it easier for businesses to grow and invest, translating into long-term job creation that helps everyone emerge stronger in the next, post-pandemic world.

But members of Congress seem poised to go in a different direction — a direction that would slow our recovery.

Utilities and some others are trying to change the way that they get paid for the electricity they sell to the customer, and not in a way that works to the customer’s benefit.

Electric utilities have asked the Legislature for “expedited cost recovery,” which is a fancy way of saying they want guaranteed cost recovery for investments they make before consumers get the benefit.