Economic Development and Job Creation are Priorities for 2010 Session

CENTRAL VA – The House of Delegates partnered with Governor Bob McDonnell to place a priority on creating a positive climate for job creation in Virginia by investing $46 million in the state budget over the course of 2011 and 2012.  The House passed an Economic Development Package to only reinvigorate programs proven to be effective in returning on investments made.

"Yes, we face a difficult budget cycle, but especially in these tough times we must have the foresight to invest in our future prosperity," said House Appropriations Chairman, Del. Lacey E. Putney, I-Bedford.  "Growing the tax base through job-creating business development is the key to Virginia's long-term economic recovery."

"I appreciate, especially in these tight economic times, that all of my colleagues worked hard to be fiscally prudent and make targeted investments for long-term dividends and renewed prosperity in Virginia. Of course, we had to balance a $4 billion shortfall in order to right-size and make government more efficient." noted Del. Christopher K. Peace (R-Mechanicsville).  "But we also focused on bringing new jobs to our state which will be the ultimate way to sustained recovery."

Included in this House Economic Development Package are targeted investments to the Governor's Opportunity Fund (GOF) and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). The GOF are discretionary funds available to the Governor to secure a business location or expansion project for Virginia. Grants are awarded to localities on a local matching basis with the expectation that the grant will result in a favorable location decision for the Commonwealth. VEDP’s mission is "To enhance the quality of life and raise the standard of living for all Virginians, in collaboration with Virginia communities, through aggressive business recruitment, expansion assistance, and trade development, thereby expanding the tax base and creating higher-income employment opportunities." These targeted measures will attract jobs and businesses to Virginia by offering economic incentives and promoting Virginia in the business world. 

Also of great importance to the package of legislation is House Bill 1381, the MEI (MEGA) Site Planning Fund patroned by Del. Ward L. Armstrong (D-Martinsville) which helps Virginia develop the "site ready" big tract sites needed to bring larger businesses to Virginia.

House Bill 803, sponsored by Del. Charles Poindexter (R-Glade Hill) and co-patroned by Del. Chris Peace allows a $500 income tax credit for the creation of "green" jobs. Each taxpayer is allowed a credit for up to 350 new green jobs and may qualify for the Enterprise Zone Grant program if the job is located in an enterprise zone.

Also co-patroned by Peace, and included in the package, is House Bill 624 introduced by Del. Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City) which amends the Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit to reduce the number of qualified full-time jobs required to be created to 50. In enterprise zones or economically distressed areas, the base or threshold is lowered from 50 newly created jobs to 25. 

Del. Ben Cline (R-Amherst) introduced House Bill 861 to attract more of the Motion Picture Industry to the Commonwealth.  It provides refundable income tax credits to any motion picture production company with qualifying expenses of at least $250,000 with respect to film production in the Commonwealth. Total credits allowed for any biennium cannot exceed $10 million.  Delegate Peace joined Cline and Governor McDonnell in support of this measure. 

Finally, Del. Sam Nixon (R-Chesterfield) and Del. Chris Peace patroned House Bill 523 that grants an income tax exemption for any gain taxed as a capital gain for federal income tax purposes that is related to a qualified investment of a new technology and science start-up business.

Investment in tourism, small business, biotechnology, and Virginia's wine industry are at the forefront in the Economic Development Package passed on Sunday. Tourism, which returns five dollars to the Commonwealth for every one invested, will receive an increase in funding of $3.6 million in each of the next two years by allocating funds to the Virginia Tourism Corporation. 

Increased incentives for small businesses, which are responsible for 70% of the new jobs created in Virginia, were also part of the package. 

Amendments include proving $1.0 million to recapitalize the Virginia Small Business Authority's capital access fund, $1.0 million over the biennium to improve the business one-stop program making it easier to navigate the red-tape of licensing and permitting, and $6.5 million over the biennium to expand Virginia's oldest business incentive, the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, which provides company-specific training in grants to new and existing businesses of all sizes.

The biotechnology and sciences industry will receive an increase in funding to encourage home-grown bioscience companies to stay in Virginia and create more jobs, moving Virginia forward with investments in green, clean, and alternative technologies.  Included in the amendments is $3.0 million for the Center for Innovative Technology's (CIT) Gap Funds, which will underwrite critical first financing for new early-stage companies.

Virginia's wine industry has made Virginia the sixth largest wine-exporting state, increasing jobs and tourism throughout the Commonwealth.  Included in the Economic Development Package was House Bill 588, sponsored by Landes and co-sponsored by Del. Chris Peace, which appropriates funds from the current Wine Liter Tax to the Virginia Wine Promotion Fund, helping create jobs and attract tourists to Virginia.

Delegate Christopher K. Peace was elected to his third term representing the 97th District of the Virginia House of Delegates. The 97th District includes parts of Hanover, Caroline, King William, King and Queen, Henrico, Spotsylvania Counties and all of New Kent County.