The report is in error when it says there are no state loan programs in West Virginia for small business activity. The West Virginia Economic Development Authority (WVEDA) has total assets of $36 million that are loaned out to companies, most of them small. Of 24 loans made in 1980, 20 were to companies with fewer than 100 employees. During the most recent legislative session, we increased the capacity of WVEDA by providing authorization for issuance of $100 million in revenue bonds to finance business growth.
West Virginia has a strong financing program, favorable energy costs, a committed small business program, a productive labor force, and a tax structure that is based on extractive industries and is therefore not detrimental to small business growth. Year after year, West Virginia has the lowest crime rate of any state in the nation and an exemplary quality of life. The overall business climate for West Virginia is positive.
Only loan programs designed specifically for small business were listed. In ranking capital resources, however, INC. included the lending activities of state economic development agencies. The research identified 16 loans made by WVEDA in 1979, 13 of which were made to smaller companies. In its latest report on major offenses per 100,000 population, the FBI shows that North Dakota has the nation's lowest crime rate.