McDonnell Pledges $50 Million for Jobs

Gov. Bob McDonnell want to invest $50 million to attract businesses to Virginia, bulk up tourism advertising and entice movie makers to the state, according to a report in the Daily Press of Newport News.

McDonnell, who took office this month, predicts that the investment can create more than 29,000 jobs and bring in $311 million in tax revenue over the next five years. “I’d say that’s a pretty good deal,” McDonnell told a press conference Tuesday. “Job creation isn’t a partisan issue. You either create them or you don’t.”

McDonnell unveiled the economic development package in the State Capitol flanked by about 30 Democrats and Republicans from the state Senate and the House of Delegates. The potential return from the development package was calculated by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, and Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng called the numbers “very conservative.”

It’s really pretty straightforward,” he said. “Every one dollar we invest in these programs, we get six back.”

McDonnell campaigned for office as “a jobs governor” who would revive the state’s economy.  The state currently is grappling with $4 billion in spending cuts and layoffs of public employees are expected.

According to the Daily Press, McDonnell would pay for the economic development programs by leaving vacant positions open at the Department of Correctional Education, spending $21 million collected from delinquent taxpayers in an amnesty program and saving another $25 million by reducing how much money the state puts into employees’ retirement plans. The state also would delay buying equipment for the Department of Corrections to save $1.2 million.

The governor wants a larger pool of money to lure businesses to Virginia, an additional $3.6 million to promote tourism and $2 million to promote Virginia as a film industry location. McDonnell’s proposal also lowers the threshold for businesses to qualify for tax breaks for hiring and includes a $500-per-job tax incentive for companies that create green jobs.