CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Lawmakers hope to convince Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to call a special legislative session or lengthen the current, already-extended session in order to resurrect a bill that would help West Virginia University build a multimillion-dollar baseball stadium.
Sen. Bob Beach, D-Monongalia, introduced a bill to create a special tax district in Morgantown, where tax revenue increases resulting from development within the district would be used to finance the $16.2 million baseball park and other infrastructure improvements.
The districts are known as tax incremental financing, or TIF, districts.
The bill died in the House of Delegates Saturday night when the Legislature ended its first regular session.
House Judiciary Chairman Tim Miley, D-Harrison, indicated last week the House would hold up the TIF bill in an attempt to get the upper chamber to pass the House's magistrate judge pay raise bill.
Miley previously said he supports the special tax district for Monongalia County but said other members of the House leadership team weren't as excited about that bill as they were the magistrate pay measure.
The Senate passed the magistrate pay raise bill on Saturday evening but with major amendments to the original House version. By the end of the session Saturday night, both the magistrate pay bill and the TIF district bill were spinning their wheels in the House.
Several senators charged the House with holding the bill "hostage."
"I can't say what's holding up the TIF bill," Sen. Clark Barnes, R-Randolph, said in the last minutes of the session.
"But of all the things we could have done positive in this body, we could have created a few jobs. But the opportunity is passed."
Sen. Sam Cann, D-Harrison, said the TIF district would have created about 2,000 jobs in the area. He said the Legislature probably would eventually pass a bill to create a special tax district in Morgantown, but that's little solace now.
"The point is, they stopped it for now," he said of the House.
Beach, speaking after the session ended at midnight Saturday, said his constituents asked him to do two things this year: create more jobs and more infrastructure.
"Tonight, a big game of chicken was played, and the people of West Virginia lost," he said.