CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) – Lawmakers are back in town to wrap up a number of bills, but the big surprise was a last-minute bill submitted by Governor Justice that would give the controversial Pleasants Power Station on Willow Island, a $12 million tax break. Otherwise, the coal-fired plant is scheduled close in 2022, costing the community hundreds of jobs.
“If that plant would close, it’s going to be very difficult for the county to survive a hit like that financially,” said Del. David Kelly, (R-Tyler-Pleasants).
Consumer watchdogs don’t believe the state should provide a bail out.
“And I have a lot of questions, and I hope the legislators have a lot of questions, about how First Energy intends to become competitive with using this $12 million dollar break. A break that I see as nothing more than corporate welfare,” said Karan Ireland, a consumer watchdog.
No votes yet on the power plant, but the House did approve provide 67-million more dollars for local school aid, after passing the controversial Education Reform Bill last month.
“You’re really looking at over $177 million of additional funding for traditional public education while providing some very modest school choice provisions,” said Majority Whip Del. Paul Espinosa (R-Jefferson).
More money was added for bond sales to fix roads across the Mountain State.
While the House met on Monday, the Senate is scheduled to meet at Noon on Tuesday and will be taking up the very same issues.