Welcome to the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce online.
We are pleased that you have stopped by to visit us and hope that you discover some of the many opportunities and attractions throughout our region.
The Chamber is a non-profit association of business and professional people working together to make the Cabell and Wayne County area a better place to live and do business. If you are new to our area or are searching for a particular business or resource, check out our member listings in the Buyer’s Guide section. This section features area restaurants, shopping, entertainment and more. You will also find information about our organization and the business services we offer to our members. You can even join the Chamber online!
Need to make new business contacts? Check out two of the Chamber’s newest committees, the Young Professionals Committee and the Women 2 Women Committee, which are both open to Chamber members and non-members.
We look forward to your next visit!
President and CEO
Chamber's Core Legislative Values for 2013
The Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce announces its core legislative values for 2013 to help represent business in government. The following is a summary of key areas of focus the Chamber will address with legislators during the upcoming legislative session.
Business Mandates: The Chamber believes that when government tries to intervene in traditional business operations, it adds costs, lowers productivity, and places those businesses at a competitive disadvantage. The Chamber opposes legislation that would mandate benefits, restrict communications with employees, regulate overtime, or “Card Check” legislation that makes it easier for organized labor to unionize companies without free and open elections.
Legal Reform: West Virginia remains at the bottom of this legal climate list, and the steps taken by the legislature in insurance and medical liability reforms are under an unrelenting attack. Reforms enacted must be maintained, and the state must do more to counter the perception that West Virginia is anti-business. The Chamber supports the concept of an Intermediate Appellate Court to ensure full review of legal issues. The legislature must continue to address issues affecting the state’s legal climate if we ever expect companies to consider West Virginia as a place to locate their business.
Economic Development: The state must have a focused Economic Development strategy that is articulated and communicated through the West Virginia Development Office and the West Virginia Development Authority to local communities. The State must provide more tools to attract domestic and foreign prospects to West Virginia including incentives, competitive business taxes, jobs and investment incentives, and programs such as the Shell Building Finance Program for both new and redevelopment construction. A key part of local economic development is Tri-State Airport, and we fully support funding for much needed modernization of the airport facility. The Prichard Intermodal Center and the Port of Huntington are two additional economic development drivers that must be supported by the State. Development of the ACF property in Huntington into a first class hotel/conference center would be an economic boost to the community and Marshall University. Providing tuition assistance to students studying in STEAM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Creative Arts, and Math) would help to attract high-tech businesses to the state. The state should also invest in a second round of “Bucks For Brains” funding.
Health Care: Our region’s health care providers, including hospitals and the medical community, are one of the major drivers in the area’s economy. The State must fully fund Medicaid and state-sponsored insurance programs so that additional costs are not shifted to patients and private insurers. Health care providers should be adequately compensated to assure the critical health needs of the region are not compromised. The Chamber supports expanded and collaborative efforts to develop policies and programs that will position our health care providers as leaders in the use of information. However, the cost of such health information technology should not be born solely by health care providers, with the financial benefits flowing downstream to federal and state governments, and other payers.
Environment: The Chamber believes that Federal Laws and regulations provide an aggressive program and framework to protect and improve the environment of West Virginia. Further, the Chamber believes that State regulations or laws more stringent than Federal regulations and laws will provide negligible benefits with high costs and reduced competitiveness for West Virginia businesses as an unintended consequence. The legislature should be mindful to protect our extraction industries such as coal, oil, gas and timber to insure we do not lose these important industries.
Education: Reforms recommended in the Audit Report for Education (“Education Efficiency Audit of West Virginia’s Primary and Secondary Education System”) should be enacted. “Across the board” cuts in education funding to all public higher education institutions is detrimental to the public interest and drives all of the institutions toward the lowest level of mediocrity. There are too many public colleges and universities in our small state to provide adequate funding for all. Institutions that are strategically placed to provide a wide range of educational services, such as Marshall University and Mountwest Community and Technical College should be fully supported. In addition, allowing for more flexibility in tuition would assist our local educational institutions. Removing or raising the caps on paid tuition hours, so students taking heavy course loads or costly programs would pay more, would be beneficial.Energy: Energy is a vital part of West Virginia’s economy. The businesses, industries, manufacturers and residents of our state benefit from the low cost energy available in West Virginia. It is an essential competitive advantage when recruiting new business and retaining businesses in our state. We encourage and support actions that ensure energy rates in West Virginia remain competitive so that we can maintain our position as a low cost energy leader. We also encourage the use of the many resources available in our state that contribute to making our energy affordable. The State of West Virginia must continue to challenge the Federal EPA’s heavy handed regulation of the state’s coal industry.
Taxes: Although improvements have been made, West Virginia is still not competitive when it comes to business taxes. Border communities such as Huntington suffer most when it comes to tax inequities with other states. The state still lags behind other states in competitive business taxes. Business taxes, such as the corporate net, personal property and business and occupation taxes must be reduced or eliminated if we want to attract and retain business to the state, and keep businesses in our cities. The legislature should continue to allow “home rule” that has some taxing flexibility, such as Huntington’s sales tax that is used to reduce B&O tax.
Public Policy: Local communities are drowning in municipal pension and health insurance costs, with many of the terms dictated by the state. The retirement age for public employees must be raised to a level comparable with the private sector, and retirement plans should be changed to a defined contribution plan, for all but those near retirement. Investment oversight and review of local plans should be initiated, and the West Virginia Public Pension Oversight Board should be vested with the power to provide adequate monitoring of local pension programs.
Top 25 Reasons to Become a Member of the Huntington Regional Chamber
1. Works to stop job killing regulation
2. Fights Card Check and Captive Communications initiatives
3. Provides valuable legislative alerts
4. Lobbies to improve Worker’s Compensation and Unemployment Insurance rates
5. Helps fund valuable studies such as a Master Transportation plan for the region
6. Supports employee training through the Workforce Development Institute with MCTC
7. Fights to stop collective bargaining for local and state employees
8. Is working to lower local taxes and eliminate the B&O tax
9. Presents the largest gathering of business people in Tri-State at its Annual Dinner
10. Conducts an annual “Energy & Natural Resource Symposium” with top notch speakers
11. Conducts several high quality Business After Hours networking events each year
12. Presents the annual “View From the Capitol” event, a premier legislative event
13. Offers the free and insightful “Coffee & Conversation” speaker series
14. Provides a member “Buyer’s Guide” at www.huntingtonchamber.org
15. Offers free advertising in the Herald Dispatch
16. Provides a place to advertise your business at the annual Business After Hours Trade Show
17. Keeps you up to date with the Monday Morning Memo
18. Offers targeted business to business marketing through “E-Showcase” advertising
19. Provides members with a valuable directory of Chamber members and contact information
20. Refers your business to callers inquiring about business services and products
21. Offers leadership development through the Young Professional’s Committee
22. Provides valuable business to business discounts through the Chamber Advantage program
23. Provides professional women networking through the Women 2 Women Committee
24. Promotes downtown through the Downtown Live Committee
25. Connects you to over 2000 businessmen and women at over 500 companies in the region