Virginia's focused on creating jobs
Bob McDonnell and Margaret Spellings
October 13, 2010
If you were to travel from Virginia to California, you would cross varied landscapes, drive through both small towns and big cities, and encounter many diverse cultures. But, what would remain constant are the tough economic conditions facing our country and its citizens.
No matter who you are, or where you live, this staggering economy has had an effect on your life. Nearly one in 10 Americans is unemployed. This is unacceptable.
Washington is finally beginning to recognize that job creation is what we need to get our nation out of this recession and get our economy back on track toward prosperity. That's a good thing. It has been our unrelenting focus in Virginia since day one of our administration.
In Virginia, there is an understanding that our economy must be based on pro-free market principles that put businesses, workers and taxpayers first to fuel investment and economic growth. We want job-creating businesses to start here and relocate here, not leave for another state, taking their good jobs with them. Our commitment to creating a welcoming and positive climate for job creators is evidenced by the fact that more than 60 firms with revenues of at least $500 million each operate within the state.
We are equally committed to our small business owners, who account for 98 percent of new jobs in Virginia and power our economy in every community.
Businesses, small and large, are a critical economic driver, and that is why Virginia's focus on business-friendly policies, keeping taxation, regulation and litigation at a minimum, have placed the commonwealth among the nation's best states for doing business.
Yet, even in such a business-friendly state as Virginia, new and innovative strategies are constantly needed to encourage job creation so that people can get back to work, reduce the unemployment rate and get our economy back on track.
A month ago, we co-hosted a roundtable discussion in Richmond on this subject in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's National Chamber Foundation, the U.S. Chamber's Campaign for Free Enterprise, and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. We brought together leaders from the Virginia chamber, local chamber CEOs and CEOs of large and small Virginia businesses to discuss the national foundation's recently released "Enterprising States" study.
The central message that resonated throughout the roundtable was this: The success of Virginia, and that of our 49 sister states, depends upon the adoption of policies that encourage entrepreneurship, innovation and job growth -- our nation's economic revival is dependent on this.
Economists predict that we need to create more than 20 million jobs in this decade to restore the millions of jobs lost since the start of the recession and to keep up with new entrants to the workforce. Of those estimated 20 million, more than 373,500 jobs will be needed here in Virginia. That is why our top focus in Virginia has been, and will continue to be, job creation and economic growth.
We are continuing to improve Virginia's pro-business, pro-job climate by providing new tax credits for major job creators, streamlining our permitting process to get businesses up and running faster, protecting our sound right-to-work laws, proactively investing in economic development projects and balancing our state budget through reducing government spending, not by raising taxes on job-creators and workers.
States play a pivotal role in job growth by creating conditions for competition, innovation and productivity. We must look to make investments that will encourage expansion through investments in: workforce development and training; the rapidly growing science and technology industries; and new infrastructure projects and improvements.
So as we begin to see improvements in our economy, we must encourage ingenuity and innovation among states and business leaders, and implement strategies that create more favorable conditions for economic growth. All across Virginia, we must work together to create jobs, revive the economy and continue to put the people of this great commonwealth back to work.
There is dignity in work, and every Virginian deserves a good and rewarding job. It is individual initiative, hard work and the free exchange of trade, capital and ideas that built this commonwealth and country, and those same pillars will lead us back to prosperity.
McDonnell is the governor of Virginia. Spellings is executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's National Chamber Foundation and a former U.S. secretary of education.