State Treasurer Riley Moore has announced his innovative Jumpstart Savings Program has officially launched and has started to enroll participants online at WVJumpstart.com.
“This is a great day both for our state and for me personally as this first-of-its-kind savings program has finally completed the transition from idea to reality,” Moore said. “I truly believe this Jumpstart Savings Program will serve as a national model to help empower and rejuvenate our blue-collar workforce in America.”
The Jumpstart Savings Program allows individuals who wish to pursue a wide range of skilled vocations or trades – ranging broadly from welding to cosmetology – to save money and enjoy certain state income tax benefits. Individuals can make up to $25,000 per year in contributions to a Jumpstart Savings Account that will be eligible for a state income tax deduction.
Additionally, up to $25,000 of Jumpstart Savings Account funds used per year for qualified expenditures for business startup costs, equipment, tools, certifications and licenses needed for their skilled vocation or trade will also be eligible for a state income tax deduction. The legislature has also formally requested Congress extend the tax benefits to federal taxes.
The program also provides an “Ignite Incentive” for certain individuals who open accounts. The state provides a $100 seed contribution when an account’s designated beneficiary is under the age of 18 or when an account is opened within 180 days of the designated beneficiary enrolling in a qualifying apprenticeship or educational program.
The Jumpstart Savings Program was inspired by Moore’s personal experience working as a welder earlier in life.
“I used to be a welder working at mining operations and thought about starting up my independent mobile welding business, but I found the startup costs to be too much to overcome,” Moore said. “This is a problem a lot of people working in trades face. We invest in their education with things like free community college, but when it comes to launching a contracting business or entering the workforce, they find the costs too high to succeed – the Jumpstart Savings Program is designed to help them overcome this problem.”
The Jumpstart Savings Program is overseen by the board of trustees of the West Virginia College and Jumpstart Savings Programs. The board has partnered with United Bank to administer the program.
“As West Virginia’s Bank, United Bank is proud to partner with Treasurer Moore in the implementation of this innovative savings program and to invest in our home state, helping not only to build a skilled workforce, but also assist people across the state in achieving their occupational goals and dreams,” said D.F. Mock, United Bank regional president. “With United’s footprint across the Mountain State, we are honored to have been selected to be a part of this groundbreaking initiative and are excited to watch the program and West Virginians continue to flourish.”
Individuals interested in enrolling in the Jumpstart Savings Program can visit WVJumpstart.com to sign up. An account can be opened with as little as a $25 contribution.
While West Virginia is the first state in the country to implement this program, Moore believes other states will soon follow suit.
“We’ve already had conversations with lawmakers in other states – as well as in Congress – about expanding this program across the country,” Moore said. “This is just another example of how West Virginia is a leader in creating new, innovative ways to build up our blue-collar workforce.
“America needs vocational and trades jobs now more than ever,” Treasurer Moore said. “If we want to rebuild our manufacturing base, restore our domestic supply chain and compete against countries like China, we’re going to need to build up our workforce. The Jumpstart Savings Program will be a critical tool to help people fill these critical, high-paying jobs.”