New W.Va. treasurer's savings bill first introduced in House
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – State Treasurer Riley Moore thanked leaders in the House of Delegates Wednesday for making his Jumpstart Savings Plan the first bill introduced as part of the regular legislative session, and said he looks forward to working with lawmakers on its swift passage.
“I want to thank House Speaker Roger Hanshaw for taking the lead sponsoring this legislation and making it the first bill introduced this session, and also for the priority they’ve placed on running it in the House of Delegates,” Treasurer Moore said.
“The Jumpstart Savings Plan is first-of-its-kind legislation that will help us build up our blue-collar workforce in West Virginia, and I’m glad my colleagues in the Legislature have embraced this innovative proposal.”
House Bill 2001, Relating Generally to Creating the West Virginia Jumpstart Savings Program, was the first bill introduced in the House of Delegates during the opening day of this year’s 60-day regular legislative session.
Jumpstart Savings Plan would function similarly to the state’s SMART529 College Savings Plan, but it would be used for those individuals who intend to enter a vocation or trade, ranging from professions like welders to hair stylists. It would provide a tax-advantaged savings account to help them cover the startup costs, equipment, certifications and licenses needed to enter vocational trades.
“While the current 529 plan allows people to buy books and pay for the cost of vocational tuition, it doesn’t let you purchase some of the other things you need to get started in the workforce,” Treasurer Moore said. “This bill will change that and remove the final barrier to entry standing in the way of people wanting to work in these critically needed trades.
“One of my first jobs in my career path was welding, and I learned firsthand how expensive it was to buy your own equipment and get certified to work in the field,” Treasurer Moore said. “As a state, we already invest in free community and technical college, but if we’re going to get people into these trades, we need to make sure they’re able to get to work. The Jumpstart Savings Plan will help them save money so they can cover these final costs of entering the workforce.”
In addition to Speaker Hanshaw, R-Clay, the bill is sponsored by Delegates Ben Queen, R-Harrison; Jason Barrett, R-Berkeley; Guy Ward, R-Marion; John Paul Hott, R-Grant; Zack Maynard, R-Lincoln; Jeffrey Pack, R-Raleigh; Clay Riley, R-Harrison; Larry Pack, R-Kanawha; Ruth Rowan, R-Hampshire; and Steve Westfall, R-Jackson.
House Bill 2001 has been referred to the House Education Committee, which is expected to take it up as early as Thursday.