CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) - CNBC has rated West Virginia as the worst state for business in America in 2017.
According to a CNBC article, this is the first time that West Virginia has hit the bottom of the CNBC Top States for Business list. West Virginia scored 942 out of 2,500 points in CNBC's scale, has the last-place economy, and finished 49th for Workforce, Technology & Innovation and Business Friendliness.
CNBC says that West Virginia's GDP shrank 0.9 percent in 2017, and a decline in coal production has hit West Virginia's economy hard. According to CNBC, mining employment has gone down 40% in the past five years and some parts of the state have lost as much as 70% of coal mining jobs.
West Virginia is one of only seven states whose economies shrank in 2016.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice issued the following statement:
“The West Virginia Legislature keeps twiddling their thumbs while our state continues to stay locked in an ‘economic death spiral.’ The Legislature allowed West Virginia to sink even further down the list of worst states for business because they completely failed to adopt my vision of change. The state Legislature has cost us thousands of job opportunities and further damaged our reputation.
“The career politicians in Charleston might be satisfied with 50th, but I can’t stand it. The Legislature said NO to my S.O.S fund for economic development, they slashed money to grow tourism in our state, they didn’t reform the tax code, they refused to help our coal miners, and they crippled our schools so it’s even harder for our people to be career ready.
“West Virginians need to know that the Legislature is keeping us in 50th place. They had the chance to follow my new ideas and go big, but instead, they turned their backs on every West Virginia family.
“This analysis from CNBC only confirms that what the Legislature is doing is not working, and if we don’t do something different we’ll all die 50th.
“Voters, fellow West Virginians, PLEASE pay attention to what our irresponsible legislators are doing to you. Let your voice be heard. Together, I promise, we will prevail and get our state on the right path, but I can’t do it without you.
“I had a real plan, a drug epidemic solution, and a pathway to hope and prosperity. Our Legislature did nothing except pass terrible pain and despair on to the backs of the poor, the disabled, and our middle class. The entire world gets it. WHY DON’T THEY?”