Retirees can aid W.Va. economy, study finds
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia is an attractive place for retirees and more could be done to entice them to live in the state, according to a study conducted for the state Division of Tourism.
Expanding efforts to attract retirees is among the top strategies recommended by the West Virginia Ten Year Tourism Plan prepared by Arlington, Va.-based AECOM Technical Services Inc. The study was released during a recent tourism conference in Shepherdstown.
“In West Virginia, the potential for growth in the retirement industry is high,” the study said. “Among the key factors that retirees consider in selecting a retirement location are proximity to family and friends and cost of living. West Virginia is very attractive in both regards.
“The economic benefits of retirees in a community have been well documented,” the study said. “Retiree residents generally pay the full range of state and local taxes but consume little in the way of public services, and they frequently buy or build new homes.”
The study recommended changing the way second homes are taxed in the state.
“One factor that second home owners consider in their purchasing decision is property taxes. The current tax law in West Virginia essentially doubles the tax rate on second homes by classifying homes that do not serve as primary residences as commercial property,” the study said.
Tourism Commissioner Betty Carver told the Charleston Daily Mail that the retirement findings are “a little bit of a surprise.” She said she believes they will prompt some of the tourism leaders in the state to think more about the topic.
The study said West Virginia is in a good position to capitalize on the trend in which travelers are taking more trips that are shorter. It notes that more than 42 million people live within surrounding states.
“If you look around, for instance at the Baltimore-Washington-northern Virginia metro area, there's certainly a great audience there to try to educate about our opportunities — rafting, skiing, our forests — depending on which geographic area you're talking about,” Carver said.
The Boy Scouts of America Summit Bechtel Reserve, which is scheduled to open in 2013 in Fayette County, offers a potential economic boost, the study said.
“I think the study shows us how we can improve an already good thing, tourism. We've got a good base to build upon, and we've got a study to point us toward that,” said state Sen. Richard Browning, D-Wyoming.
“We are the backyard of the East, and we ought to capitalize on that,” Browning said. “We ought to draw people here, get them to spend money here. At first, it may not create the best jobs, but when you get people in the area spending money, that stimulates other areas of the economy.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 7 shot at Florida spring-break house party
- Global warming is slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences
- Attorneys: Sterilizations were part of plea deal talks
- American crash victims: U.S. government contractor, daughter
- Christie rails against high N.J. estate tax
- A bipartisan push on toxic chemicals makes some Democrats fume
- Run from Cuba, Americans cling to claims for seized property
- Pentagon shielded Chilean torture, slaying suspect
- Starbucks drops ‘Race Together’ coffee cups
- 3 Illinois state workers seek to join Rauner lawsuit over union dues
- Santorum: Obama opposition to fossil fuels ‘quasi-religious’