WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Taxation and competition with other overseas businesses are a couple of the challenges facing West Virginia manufacturers, business leaders said Wednesday.
Tom DeWitt, president of Swanson Industries of Morgantown, said in competing for business with a company from South Korea recently, the level of taxation in West Virginia gave the edge to the foreign company.
The South Korean company is more competitive with material and labor costs too, he said. But taxes were most significant reason why the South Korean company was able to compete with Swanson, Dewitt said.
"We looked at what we pay, which is roughly 41.5 percent taxes on our income and we looked at South Korea, which pays 24 percent," he said.
He continued that his company has to charge 20 percent more than the company from South Korea in order to get the same return.
DeWitt's comments came at a panel forum held at the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce's annual Business Summit at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs.
Before the forum, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., talked about the federal government's need to get out of debt. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, also D-W.Va., spoke of West Virginia's positive financial status.
Dewitt said that while Manchin and Tomblin may be optimistic about the state of the nation and the state, he is not as hopeful.
"With all due respect, I wish I was as optimistic," Dewitt said.
Dewitt challenged state leaders to consider what could be done to encourage businesses to locate or expand in West Virginia.