March 13, 2018
Ohio governor says cracker pricetag jumps to $10B
Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Monday two international energy companies now control roughly 500 acres of property needed to build the planned Belmont County ethane cracker — a project he said could now cost up to $10 billion.
During a Monday news conference at the Ohio Statehouse, Kasich formally announced the partnership between Thailand-based PTT Global Chemical and South Korea’s Daelim Industrial Co., a pairing initially reported in late January, Kallanish Energy reports.
“It’s great to see these two world-class companies coming together to develop an exciting 21st century industry that will dramatically transform Ohio,” Kasich said. “Building this massive ethane cracker plant here will be a game-changer, not only for eastern Ohio, but for the entire state, as it will create so many new opportunities for economic development.” Read More...
Cracker Investment Could Hit $10 Billion
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Gov. John Kasich said a pair of international energy firms now control about 500 acres of property needed to build the planned Belmont County ethane cracker, a project he said could now cost up to $10 billion. 
During a Monday news conference at the Ohio Statehouse, Kasich formally announced the partnership between Thailand-based PTT Global Chemical and South Korea's Daelim Industrial Co., a pairing initially reported by The Intelligencer on Jan. 31. 
"It's great to see these two world-class companies coming together to develop an exciting 21st century industry that will dramatically transform Ohio," Kasich said. "Building this massive ethane cracker plant here will be a game-changer, not only for Eastern Ohio, but for the entire state, as it will create so many new opportunities for economic development." 
Two-and-a-half years ago, PTT officials joined Kasich at the Statehouse to announce plans to spend $100 million for engineering and design work. Monday, JobsOhio President and Chief Investment Officer John Minor said this investment has already topped $150 million. 
Initially, the estimated cost of the cracker plant to be build along the Ohio River was $5.7 billion. Kasich and Minor said Monday the cost could now go as high as $10 billion, as the partnership of PTT and Daelim allows the companies to make the plant even larger than originally planned. 
"The investment plans include significantly more ethylene output at a larger facility that would have a greater economic impact throughout the state for decades to come," Minor said .Read More...
Trump signs orders for new aluminum, steel tariffs
"These new tariffs will cause significant harm to the nation’s construction industry, put tens of thousands of high-paying construction jobs at risk, undermine the President’s proposed infrastructure initiative and potentially dampen demand for new construction projects for years to come,"  Sandherr wrote in a statement . "That is because the newly-imposed tariffs will lead to increases in what construction firms are forced to pay for the many steel and aluminum products that go into a typical construction project." Read More...
Kent State University officials approve $1B campus overhaul
The first $221-million phase, which is slated for completion in 2020, will include a new $73 million business college administration building; a $45 million innovation hub and dining area; a new parking deck and other additions and renovations, as well as a $21 million mixed-use development that will connect the university to the downtown. The university also plans to construct the $400 million second phase and $106 million third phase from 2021 to 2023 and from 2024 and 2027, respectively. During the 10-year life of the program, Kent State said it will complete another $400 million of work on new or improved sports complexes and possibly an "intergenerational village." Read More
Where Did All West Virginia’s Money Go?
The West Virginia Capitol is a crime scene. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been stolen. So where are the cops? Have they got any leads? When will the perpetrators be brought to justice?
It’s not some kind of brilliant caper we need to solve. Thieves took the money in broad daylight while their friends cheered them on. They wore no disguises — just the usual suits and ties — and there was no getaway car — most of them are still in town.
The news says West Virginia is $600 million short this year. That’s on top of $350 million last year. I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s a lot of money. If that much is missing, we ought to be able to figure out who’s got it . READ MORE...
West Virginia Coalfield Battle: Origin of the Term “Redneck”
Like so many other slang words in the American lexicon, the term “redneck” can have multiple meanings. Some wear the title as a badge of honor, while others use it in a derogatory manner to describe people they feel are beneath them. But where exactly did this term come from?
Far from tractor-pulls and junkyards, the term ‘redneck’ can be traced to the dusty coalfields of Southern West Virginia nearly a century ago.
While the rest of the nation had ridden itself from the scars of slavery in the latter half of the 1800s, the once proud and free-spirited Scots-Irish of West Virginia’s Tug Valley region had become victims of the industrial revolution — the limitless resources buried deep beneath their homes proved to be an irresistible lust to many of the nation’s wealthiest corporations.
The late Matewan resident, Joseph P. Garland, stated that his grandfather — who was illiterate — was tricked by corporate lawyers into giving up 1,666 acres of the family’s land for a single shotgun. Read More...

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
 
WEST VIRGINIA
 
The West Virginia Legislature adjourned its 2018 regular session at midnight on Saturday, March 10. In a surprising development, the legislature was able to pass a balanced $4.38 billion spending plan for 2018-19. The budget package, assuming significant revenue growth, fund transfers and sweeps of excess revenue accounts, was accomplished without any new taxes and was adopted before the end of the regular session. Historically, the Governor has extended the session for a number of days so a conference committee can hammer out an acceptable budget compromise. The republican leadership in both Houses made a conscious commitment to pass a budget before the end of the regular session. They delivered on their promise.
 
As we all know, the last three weeks of the session were punctuated by striking teachers and school service personnel descending on the capitol to seek support for higher wages than the 3% increase the House and Governor were committed to supporting. This unexpected and bold move by teachers and other state employees paid off when the House, Senate and Governor, caving to closed schools and grass roots political persuasion/pressure, agreed to a 5% across the board increase for teachers and most other state employees. This increase is estimated to cost the state an additional $115 million for FY 2018.
 
Moreover, the Governor signed an Executive Order creating a 29 person Task Force that is charged to develop a financial plan that will attempt to bring solvency to the shortfall in the PEIA, the Public Employees Insurance Agency. The PEIA, like most health insurance plans, has been plagued by higher premiums, higher deductibles and less coverage. The Governor recognized that higher premiums were eroding any small wage increases that were awarded to state employees. To buy some time until a permanent fix can be developed, the Governor transferred $29 million of surplus funds into the beleaguered insurance plan and froze all cost increases for 18 months.
 
Both of these efforts were enough to assuage teacher anger and conclude this surprisingly successful work stoppage. Educators returned to the classroom late last week. 
 
Contractor and General Business Issues
 
HB 4317 - Contractor Licensing Board changes. This bill died for lack of interest in the House Judiciary Committee.
 
SB 284 - Governor Justice's bill to subsidize community college and technical school tuition costs was shelved at the expense of the pay raise commitments to teachers and state employees.
 
SB 335 - Legislation requiring an annual voluntary registration for agency shop dues that might be used for political purposes. This bill was tabled as part of the agreement between the teachers and legislative leaders.
 
SB 458 - This is the bill that would have prevented state jurisdictions from adopting or enforcing any ordinance, regulation or law that would pay a higher wage or benefit than any state or federal law. The proposal would have prevented the introduction of any helpful background information except for personal criminal activity. This bill, too, died in the House Judiciary Committee.
 
SB 474 - Legislation that would deem certain documents and files pursuant to the WV Jobs Act as confidential and not available for public scrutiny. The bill passed the Senate and, wisely, was not considered by the House.
 
SB 506 - A bill that alters the standards and licensing requirements for HVAC technicians based on the licensees experience with residential versus large HVAC installation and maintenance. The bill passed both Houses on the last day of the session. The bill will be sent to the Governor for his signature or veto.
 
HB 4013 - Tort Reform initiative that prevents a non resident from filing a cause of action unless a substantial part pf the tortious act or omissions occurred in WV. This bill will, presumably, prevent out of state plaintiff lawyers from filing frivolous lawsuits using suspect in-state nexus connections. The bill was passed by the Legislature on March 10th and is awaiting action by the Governor. 
 
HB 4268 - Cotenancy legislation. This bill would allow for oil and gas development to proceed once 75% of drilling units have been secured by lease. Unleased cotenants would be compensated at the highest royalty rate paid to other cotenants. This bill will help to develop mineral properties where fractional ownership and unlocatables have prohibited majority ownership from developing their mineral interests. The bill passed and Governor Justice signed it into law on March 9th.
 
House Joint Resolution #6 - This proposed constitutional amendment would have reduced the property tax assessment on business inventory and equipment over a 7 year phase out schedule. Unfortunately, the $20-25 million annual cost of the phase out became too expensive in the wake of the teacher and state employee wage hikes. 
 
SB 341 - This was the proposal establishing a new appellate court system in WV. Like the inventory and equipment tax, this bill died when cost estimates ($10 million) became too expensive for legislative appetites.
OHIO
 
Governor John Kasich delivered his final state of state address last week in his home town of Westerville. Quoting western philosophers, the speech was more a reflection of the Governor's personal value system and his hope for inspiring good and noble deeds in Ohio citizens than any advocacy on behalf of policies or proposed legislation. The Governor did say he was proud of the state's decision to expand Medicare coverage to thousands of less fortunate state residents. Kasich also discussed the states continuing efforts to curtail the manufacturing, distribution and use of opioid drugs throughout the Buckeye state. The Governor is in his last year as the state's chief executive.
 
The Ohio General Assembly has recently introduced its capital budget for 2018-19. The $2.6 billion capital budget is a two year spending plan designed for public construction and improvement projects around the state. This years introduced version includes:
 
1) $600 million for local school construction, repairs and renovations.
2) $480 million for projects benefitting Ohio's 37 public colleges and universities. 
3) $515 million to local infrastructure projects through the Ohio Public Works Commission.
4) $235 million for the maintenance and preservation of dams, parks, trails and waterways.
5) 4150 million for economic development and regional cultural projects. 
SAFETY AND EDUCATION
8 Business Plan Myths That Can Hurt Your Business
The need for good business planning is as strong as ever, and the potential benefits are as important as ever. Every business owner ought to have a business plan. But the best strategies for business planning are different than they used to be.
With that in mind, I’ve identified 8 pervasive myths that stand between you, the business owner, and the planning your business ought to have.
1. A business plan has to be long
Not necessarily so. A business plan can take whatever form is most useful, even if that’s just a few lists and tables.
2. A business plan is hard to make
It doesn’t have to be. List your key strategy points and key tactics, and a few important major milestones (like deadlines, tasks, the new launch or new website, and necessary hires). Include projected sales, costs, expenses, and cash flow. Voila! You have a business plan.
3. Nobody creates business plans anymore
Well-run businesses use business planning the right way. They keep a simple, lean plan up-to-date and refreshed. The review and revise it monthly. In straw polls I’ve taken for years at management workshops, the best 20% or 30% of the companies represented have a management process that includes a lean business plan as well as regular reviews and revisions.
 
Smart startups use basic business planning to help them see starting costs, projected early sales and spending, cash flow, and key strategy points and milestones before they launch. Then, they review these monthly. READ MORE...
U.S. Department of Labor Launches Regional Campaign In West Virginia
To Raise Awareness of Construction Industry Hazards
 
PHILADELPHIA, PA -  The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a regional campaign to raise awareness about the four leading safety hazards in the construction industry. The “Focus Four Hazards” campaign will serve employers and employees in Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
 
From March through June, the campaign will educate employers to recognize, evaluate, and control electrical, struck-by, fall, and caught-in/between hazards. Each month, OSHA representatives will participate in “toolbox talk” discussions focused on one of the four hazards.
 
OSHA’s Charleston Area Office will work with employers throughout the state of West Virginia.
 
“This campaign is designed to promote and encourage a safe workplace so that employers and employees finish each day without injury,” said Richard Mendelson, OSHA Philadelphia-area Regional Administrator.
 
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit  http://www.osha.gov .
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD Tool Box Talk
PLAN ROOM NEWS
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Ohio Valley Construction Employers Council

Ginny Favede, Executive Director

Telephone: 304-242-0520 Fax 304-242-7261 Website:     www.ovcec.com
21 Armory Drive Wheeling West Virginia 26003