WHEELING - Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney wants to manufacture drilling rigs in West Virginia, but he said the state's tax structure isn't conducive to starting new businesses.
Maloney, 52, of Morgantown campaigned in the Northern Panhandle Thursday before speaking to the Mountaineers for Responsible Government group in Wheeling in the evening.
Maloney has an extensive background in mining and drilling. He is the founder of the Mine Rescue Drilling Fund, which was established to provide critical assistance for mine rescues in the United States and abroad. He started the fund following his efforts in the successful rescue of 33 trapped miners in Chile last year. His company implemented rescue "Plan B," which helped to free the miners
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney talks about his ideas for West Virginia during a visit to Wheeling on Thursday.
He was a co-founder and executive at North American Drillers, North American Pump and Supply Co., and Shaft Drillers International, which he sold in 2006. He is the principal of Cow Run Energy LLC and Drill Leader LLC.
"With all the oil and gas production in the state, we need to develop add-on industries," he said. "After I came back from Chile, I wanted to get into the manufacturing of emergency drilling rigs. But our tax structure isn't conducive to starting new businesses. We have what some might call regressive taxes. Businesses have to worry about personal property taxes, inventory taxes, and in the cities you have a (business and occupation) tax."
Maloney also believes the legal system in the state - sometimes referred to as a "judicial hell hole" - is another major obstacle to attracting businesses and jobs to the state, and he believes the establishment of an intermediate appellate court would be instrumental in dispelling the notion that West Virginia "isn't business friendly."
"It's a great first step," he said. "Often if you were to go to the circuit court, and they ruled against you, you would try to work out a deal because you didn't want to go to the state Supreme Court to appeal."
Maloney said he would try to sell West Virginia to potential investors as "one of the best places to bring up your family."
"We have a great work force here, and there are a lot of good things about the state - such as our location," he said. "It would be easy to sell if we could clear up just a few things."