West Virginia could pay former residents $25,000 to come back

Country roads take me home and pay me $25,000!

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The West Virginia Senate unanimously passed a bill to try to get former state residents back where they belong by offering a tax credit to live and work in the Mountain State, The Associated Press reported.

The money won’t come in cold hard cash. Instead, the payment would be a tax credit for people who had lived in West Virginia for 10 years or who were born there. They would have to have lived outside of the state for at least 10 consecutive years before 2023.

The tax credit could be used up until 2029.

This isn’t the first time the state’s leaders have tried to pay people to come to the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River to boost the population. The state had a 3.2% population decline from 2010 to 2020, losing about 59,000 people. It’s the only state that has fewer residents than it did in 1950, the AP reported. The loss has been attributed to declining industrial jobs in the coal and steel sectors.

The Department of Tourism is offering up to $12,000 cash and free passes to outdoor adventures to get people who work remotely to move to different areas.

The state is also facing other challenges.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared Charleston the country’s “most concerning HIV outbreak” in 2021 because of IV drug use, Fortune magazine reported. It also has banned transgender athletes from competing in female school sports. A district court found that the ban could remain despite the uproar over the move.

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