However, because of rate increases, Steel of West Virginia's electricity bill has increased from $568,000 a month in 2006 to $1.1 million a month. "We have the highest rate of our sister plants," he said.
Alluding to Century Aluminum's request for a special electricity rate, Duke said, "It would be great if that plant reopened, but Steel of West Virginia is not a bank or an insurance company and we strongly object to their proposal."
Although West Virginia's corporate income tax has been falling, "Virginia's tax rate is still 29.2 percent lower. Comparing personal income taxes, "West Virginia loses to Indiana," he said.
The progress West Virginia has made in reducing workers' compensation insurance costs "is unbelievable," Duke said, noting that premium rates have declined more than 50 percent since West Virginia privatized its system in 2006.
As for unemployment taxes: "If you hire 380 workers in Indiana and 380 in West Virginia and pay them the same and never lay anyone off, over a 10-year period you will pay $469,000 in Indiana versus $1,231,000 in West Virginia," he said.
"West Virginia personal property taxes are higher than our sister plants because those states exempt more inventory items from the tax base," he said.
He also noted that Indiana and Virginia are right-to-work states and West Virginia is not. West Virginia is special because of "its fantastic pool of production workers, managers and administrative professionals," he said. "Our workers have grit . . . I'd put ours up against the best of the rest."
Duke has three messages for state legislators: "Lower our taxes; break down some of the barriers, such as a fairer legal environment and becoming a right-to-work state; and establish better skilled training programs."
Reach George Hohmann at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.