~ Focuses on green jobs, tax cuts, worker training and transportation ~
~ Builds on Va.'s distinction as low-tax, business-friendly state ~
Democratic candidate for governor Creigh Deeds today announced a comprehensive plan to create jobs and renew Virginia's economy through targeted tax cuts for small businesses, innovative partnerships to generate new jobs in the alternative energy industry, creative initiatives to jump-start an economic recovery in rural regions, as well as a commonsense approach to finally solve Virginia's statewide transportation challenges through responsible, bipartisan leadership.
In addition, the Deeds Plan to Jump Start the Economy targets additional resources to worker training and education, including a health care option for the temporarily unemployed and new tools to help responsible homeowners avoid foreclosure. It also commits to expand access to broadband and wireless communications to the entire state.
"Our plan will jump-start our economy, create jobs, reduce taxes on small businesses and position Virginia to succeed and win in a new economy once we recover from this challenging time," Deeds said. "This plan also provides targeted resources to help families facing unemployment, workers in need of job training, and students interested in high-wage, high-demand jobs."
Deeds unveiled the proposal during a visit to downtown Roanoke's State & City Building, the first building in the Roanoke and New River Valleys to receive the U.S. Green Building Council's prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED®) certification. It is one of the first buildings in Virginia to combine LEED-certification and historic preservation.
Deeds was accompanied by U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner, who won high marks during his 2002-06 term as Virginia Governor for his focus on increasing educational and economic opportunities across the Commonwealth.
"Virginia led the nation in telecom in the 1980s, we helped lead the Internet revolution during the 1990s, and I firmly believe that the next generation of jobs and wealth will be found in the 'green' economy," Senator Warner said. "Creigh has put together a road map that allows Virginia to grasp that opportunity and take advantage of all of those possibilities if we prepare Virginians to take a leadership role in the alternative energy field."
The Deeds Plan to Jump Start the Economy builds on efforts of Warner and Governor Timothy M. Kaine, which led to the Commonwealth's distinction as the nation's Best State for Business [Forbes & CNBC]. It also includes bold initiatives to cut the cost of state government, identifying and implementing additional accountability measures and efficiencies to enhance citizen access to government services to extend Virginia's hard-won reputation as the country's Best Managed State [Governing Magazine & The Pew Charitable Trusts].
The Deeds Plan to Jump Start the Economy focuses on four key programs:
Immediate solutions for small business owners, homeowners, and workers:
· Give tax credits to businesses that create jobs.
· Help unemployed workers purchase emergency health insurance.
· Double the Governor's Opportunity Fund and put $10 million into job training.
· Create a Rural Business Fund to provide loans to small businesses in distressed areas.
· Cut red tape in the small business permitting process.
· Increase state contracting for small, women and minority-owned (SWAM) businesses.
· Finish the last mile of broadband by 2013.
· Offer loan guarantees for Virginia community college students.
· Provide grants to community colleges to expand nursing programs.
· Boost investments in the tourism industry.
Strategies for making Virginia a leader in green energy industries:
· Build a Virtual Energy Research Triangle to coordinate R&D in green energy industries.
· Set a mandatory renewable standard of 15 percent by 2020 and 22 percent by 2025.
· Fund weatherization projects that help low-income Virginians save on their energy bills.
An innovative statewide transportation plan:
·Work with the General Assembly and local stakeholders to design and implement a long-term, statewide, multi-modal transportation proposal in his first year as Governor.
· Bring high-speed rail, and expand traditional freight and passenger rail.
· Reduce rush-hour traffic through telecommuting and flextime tax credits.
· Promote smarter land use planning.
· Strengthen oversight of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
· Invest in the port and work with military contractors and the Navy.
· Expand road and rails projects in Southwest and Southside.
· Ease congestion on the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel.
A plan to make state government leaner and more efficient:
· Name an Efficiency Improvement Director from the business community
· Require state government to purchase drugs in bulk to save money.
· Promote energy savings in state facilities.
· Institute competitive bidding for durable medical equipment purchases.
· Streamline consumer services to maximize efficiency.
· Create a state employee workforce plan.
· Conduct an unclaimed property auction.