Bolling: Jobs and Opportunity Agenda good for Virginia

  
Column by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling
www.ltgov.virginia.gov

During this year’s statewide campaign, Bob McDonnell and I talked a lot about getting our economy moving again and creating jobs. We said then, and we reaffirm now, that this is the most important issue currently facing our state.

Over the past several months, we have worked to put together a comprehensive set of legislative and budget initiatives that will position Virginia to take full advantage of a future economic resurgence. On Jan. 26, we unveiled our Jobs and Opportunity Agenda in a press conference at the State Capitol that was attended by more than 300 legislative and business leaders.

Even though state government is current facing significant budget shortfalls, we have asked the General Assembly to appropriate an additional $50 million toward proven economic development and job creation programs. That means more money for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Tourism Corporation, the Virginia Film Office, the Department of Business Assistance and more. 

With this additional funding, we will be able to open new economic-development offices in China and India and implement an aggressive media campaign to market Virginia as a great place to do business or take a vacation.

We will be able to invest in a number of strategic programs that are designed to improve Virginia’s ability to attract enhanced manufacturing facilities, become the East Coast’s energy leader and assert our position as a great place for biotechnology and life sciences companies.

And we will be able to double the size of the Governor’s Opportunity Fund, which provides incentives to new businesses locating in Virginia; and the Jobs Investment Partnership Program, which provides grants to businesses that need workforce training assistance.

In addition, we have proposed a number of legislative initiatives that will give our economic development professionals the tools they need to recruit new companies to Virginia.

We have proposed a number of new and expanded tax incentives for businesses that create jobs in Virginia, including a doubling of the Major Facilities Business Tax Credit and the implementation of a new Green Energy Jobs Tax Credit.

In addition to doubling the size of the Governor’s Opportunity Fund, we have proposed providing additional flexibility in the fund by allowing grants and loans based on anticipated state and local tax revenue and more latitude for local matching funds for certain projects.

To assist small businesses in gaining access to the capital they need to start a business or expand a business, we have proposed tax credits to financial institutions that invest in a new $100M Small Business Investment Company fund that will make loans to small businesses.

We have proposed reprioritizing how money is invested in Virginia’s Enterprise Zones by requiring that available funds go first to those companies that are creating jobs. Currently, we are only funding 46% of these obligations.

And we have proposed continuing Virginia’s Business One Stop program, which is designed to assist small businesses in understanding state licensing and regulatory requirements, and streamlining these requirements to enable anyone to create a small business in Virginia within 48 hours.

A conservative economic impact analysis estimates that our Jobs and Opportunity Agenda will create nearly 30,000 new jobs in the next two years and generate $311 million in additional state and local tax revenue.

I am pleased that our Jobs and Opportunity Agenda has strong bipartisan support in the General Assembly.

Now is the time to invest in these important economic development programs and pass this job creating legislation. These changes will better position Virginia to compete for new business, industry and jobs.

These are challenging economic times, but if we make the right decisions now we can position Virginia to take full advantage of a future economic resurgence.

Please contact your legislator today and encourage them to support the McDonnell/Bolling Jobs and Opportunity Agenda so we can get Virginia’s economy growing again.

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