By Bob Weaver|
Mead-Westvaco, one of the largest landholders in Wirt and several other West Virginia
counties, has announced they will cut 2,500 jobs by the end of the year. They are reporting
a second-quarter loss of eight million dollars, or four cents a share.
Gov. Cecil Underwood gave timber companies, including Westvaco, over a 60% tax break
with the Managed Timberlands Bill, reducing taxation in many rural counties by several
hundred thousand dollars. Mead-Westvaco pays Wirt County less than $1 an acre tax.
The Managed Timberlands Bill, which was given approval by nearly every regional member
of the House of Delegates, was touted to help the small wood lot owner. A study indicated
90% of the applicants were large timber companies, those that already managed their
The loss of tax to poor rural counties was enormous.
Westvaco's $3 billion dollar merger with Mead has already resulted in the elimination of
2,100 jobs, what was described as a move to strengthen the company.
Mead-Westvaco owns 350,000 acres in West Virginia, on which they pay minimal taxes
compared to regular land owners.