‘Rushed’ WVU report could have overstated economic benefits of Nucor deal

January 20, 2022

Photo shows the front of the West Virginia Statehouse.
Source: Canva

“When lawmakers last week rushed through a series of bills offering incentives and tax cuts to a steel company interested in opening a new plant in West Virginia, state officials assured them the deal would pay off.

Brian Abraham, Gov. Jim Justice’s chief of staff, pointed to an economic report by West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research that estimated the company’s investment would generate nearly $25 billion for the state’s economy and bring in nearly $439 million in state taxes over the next decade. 

‘So we think it’s a wise investment,’ Abraham said.

The only problem: there were errors and questionable assumptions in the WVU report that could impact its projections.”

Read the full story in the Mountain State Spotlight behind a rushed $1.7 billion subsidy given to Nucor. The economic impact report used as justification for the subsidy included a number of questionable assumptions, including that all the workers would be West Virginia residents (despite the package having no local hiring requirements and the project’s proximity to Ohio and Kentucky), and workers earning an average wage of $700,000, according to an analysis by investigative reporter Douglas Soule.