From a FOIA response, Jefferson County Vision has discovered our state government is giving Rockwool $2.2 million in direct taxpayer funding. This is beyond the generous infrastructure funding and Rockwool’s multimillion dollar local tax breaks. The West Virginia Department of Commerce is sending $2.2 million from the state treasury to Rockwool’s bank account, and the company is free to use the money as it sees fit. The only condition is Rockwool must hire 120 employees within the next 5 years — fewer jobs than the company has promised.
Where are our state elected officials? Despite all the talk about fiscal responsibility in Charleston, they are allowing Rockwool to grab millions of our tax dollars. West Virginia is one of the poorest states in America and our officials are sending our money to the overseas shareholders of a multibillion dollar company.
View the FOIA response (.pdf page 15)
Why is it that despite all the “public engagement” from Rockwool, this taxpayer gift was not disclosed? Since we raised our opposition to the project, Rockwool has touted all of the “investment” they were bringing to Jefferson County. Little did we know that that millions of this “investment” was really OUR money. Now that we know, we want a refund. We want a Rockwool refund.
We call on the governor and our state officials to immediately rescind the $2.2 million the state of West Virginia is providing for Rockwool. The money that Rockwool is taking to spew pollutants into our school zones should be going INTO our schools to pay teachers, supplies, and curriculum. That $2.2 million of our money could should be used to help students rather than turn their school zones into industrial work sites.
No more secrets. We have a right to know where our money is going, especially when it’s being used for projects we oppose on safety, health, educational, and environmental grounds
What’s more, the amount of money, $2.2 million, is suspiciously almost the exact amount Rockwool paid for its section of Jefferson Orchard. Did the Rockwool secret negotiations include setting the price for the land? How did Rockwool decide what amount to pay? Every day there are more unanswered questions. It is time for Rockwool to leave Jefferson County.