THE city of Morgantown and West Virginia University agreed on a $16.2 million project to build a baseball park that would serve the school's Big 12 needs and attract a minor league team.
The project has a good chance of creating 1,500 permanent jobs as the ballpark and a new $28 million interstate exchange would attract retail, office and light industry to the area.
The city and the school have their ducks in a row. The New York-Penn League is ready to welcome Morgantown into the league.
But they need legislative approval of a tax increment financing district to fund the project.
Such a bill passed the state Senate only to die in the House because senators wouldn't go along with a pay raise for magistrates and staff in counties that have fewer than 8,400 residents.
In a session markedly devoid of concern for eco-nomic development, House leadership showed more concern for public employees than for providing 1,500 jobs in the private sector.
What about the state's 8.1 percent jobless rate?
The reason so many counties have fewer than 8,400 people is the lack of jobs. Holding economic development hostage to public employee raises will not create the jobs needed to fund those raises.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin needs to get legislative leaders together to keep this project moving.