On the top-state-for-business bandwagon

The big news in an otherwise slow news week – for those who don’t consider Michael Jackson to be anything other than an odd curiosity – had Virginia earning another ranking as the top state for business, this time from Pollina Corporate Real Estate Inc., a corporate site-relocation expert that has now tapped the Old Dominion for this top honor three times in the past seven years.

The ’09 honor was also the second in the tenure of Gov. Tim Kaine, who didn’t waste any time having his office crank out a press release touting the good news.

“As governor, I’ve made it a priority to foster opportunity and quality jobs for Virginians while ensuring our workforce has the educational resources and skills it needs to compete globally,” Kaine said in a statement. “During these tough economic times in particular, reclaiming the No. 1 ranking speaks volumes about the consistent way in which Virginia does business—and demonstrates that we’re up for the challenge.”

Virginia was also first in the Pollina rankings in 2003 and 2007, second from 2004 to 2006 and third in 2008. That’s seven straight years in the national top three, all under Democratic governors in Kaine and predecessor Mark Warner.

The Pollina numbers are based on a review of 33 factors, including taxes, human resources, right-to-work legislation, energy costs, infrastructure spending and state economic-development efforts. Democrats can rightly claim credit for creating a solid pro-business environment under Warner and Kaine with partners in the Republican caucus in the Senate who worked with Warner in particular in the early years of the ’00s to boost Virginia’s efforts in infrastructure spending and economic development. House Republicans have generally been roadblocks to that end in recent years, making it curious, to say the least, that a former member of the House GOP Caucus, Republican Party gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell, is trying to recast himself as a positive force in its first general-election television ad, “Resurgence,” which makes McDonnell out to be a key player in the top-state-for-business movement.

Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds doesn’t have to fluff up his credentials in that respect. The Bath County state senator swept to victory in the June party primary on the strength of his years of hard work on transportation and education infrastructure improvements that he has talked up as being foundational elements to business development in the Commonwealth.

“Virginia’s smart, businesslike approach to economic development must be a vital component of our overall efforts to create jobs and expand economic opportunity for Virginians,” Deeds said in a statement on the Pollina rankings news. “I have been proud to be a reliable partner with Governors Warner and Kaine in efforts to promote the Commonwealth’s pro-business climate, including a focus on good schools, safe communities, an excellent quality of life, and reasonable tax and regulatory policies. That responsible, bipartisan approach is at the heart of my plan to boost Virginia’s economy and put people back to work through smart, targeted investments and expanded economic opportunities,” Deeds said.


– Story by Chris Graham

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