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Governor McDonnell Announces "The Greatest Opportunity: Jobs and Economic Development Legislative Agenda" for 2012 General Assembly Session

Press Release

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Location: Richmond, VA

Governor Bob McDonnell, joined by Lieutenant Governor and Chief Jobs Creation Officer Bill Bolling and numerous legislators, announced today his "The Greatest Opportunity: Jobs and Economic Development Legislative Agenda" for the 2012 General Assembly session during a morning press conference in Richmond. This year's agenda builds on the aggressive job creation and economic development measures that passed the General Assembly with strong bipartisan support during the 2010 and 2011 sessions. In line with the budget priorities outlined in his address to the Joint Money Committees in December, Governor McDonnell has asked for increased support of job creating funds and initiatives as part of his introduced 2013/2014 biennial budget. He also will advance legislation to increase access to capital for business and implement greater coordination among economic development entities, along with budget items increasing the support of job creation funds and initiatives.

Speaking about "The Greatest Opportunity" agenda, Governor McDonnell remarked, "There is no greater opportunity than a good paying job. A good job is more than a paycheck. It is a source of inspiration, motivation and confidence. It allows an individual to help provide for their family, enrich our Commonwealth and grow our economy. Ensuring that more Virginians can find good jobs, those great opportunities they need and deserve, is the foremost priority of our administration. As we begin our third General Assembly session, we will continue to build on the bipartisan legislative achievements we have implemented thus far that have helped to make Virginia the best place to grow and start a business. Since taking office, Virginia's unemployment rate has dropped one percent and we have the third lowest unemployment rate east of the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, more than 260,000 Virginians are still out of a job, which is unacceptable, and that is why job creation and economic development remains my top priority. In December, when I introduced my 2013/2014 biennial budget, I said that 'one of our five core objectives must be prioritizing spending on ideas and policies that promote job creation, economic development and entrepreneurship.' We must invest in job creating measures and tools to attract and grow business here in Virginia. During the 2012 General Assembly session, through budget items and legislation, we will advance a number of initiatives that will make it easier for businesses large and small to create jobs and get more people back to work. The more we can do at the state level to put in place measures that help private sector job creators, rather than hinder their ability to start or grow, the better off Virginia will be in the future. This legislative session is another opportunity to help the private sector create more of the greatest opportunities, good jobs, for our citizens."

Governor McDonnell continued, "One of the biggest issues businesses are running into today is the ability to access capital. This session we are advancing legislation to reverse this trend through tax credits for small business investments and the acceleration of the Major Business Facility Jobs Tax Credit. Our intention is that these tax credits will free up more capital for business to put into investments, start up costs and hiring. We will also advance legislation to increase coordination among our various economic development entities to better support job creators around the Commonwealth. This includes: adding the Secretaries of Agriculture and Forestry and Technology to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership as voting members; creating an economic development grant program targeted specifically at agricultural and forestry operations; and, adding two university seats to the Modeling and Simulation Advisory Council. Finally, through a number of budget items, we will continue our work over the last two years to better fund job creating programs and initiatives, such as the Advanced Manufacturing Initiative, Governor's Agriculture and Forest Industries Development Fund and important non-credit courses in our community college system. The road to economic success in the future is to ensure that we are best supporting Virginia's job creators today. Our goal this session, through the passage of these important initiatives, is to create an even stronger environment in Virginia for sustained job creation and economic development growth for years to come. We must do more to bring more great opportunities to work to our talented and innovative citizens. A good job is truly the greatest opportunity of all."

Lieutenant Governor Bolling added, "During the past two years, we have worked hard to reinvest in Virginia's economic development infrastructure and make job creation the top priority of state government. The results have been impressive, but this is no time to rest on our past accomplishments. That's why will put forth another aggressive economic development agenda in 2012. With the support of our partners in the General Assembly, these important initiatives will enable us to do even more to make certain that every Virginian who wants a job can find a job."

Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, stated, "We urge the General Assembly to support Governor McDonnell's Jobs and Economic Legislative Agenda. Economic development and job creation initiatives such as these will help improve Virginia's position in the increasingly competitive global economy and maintain Virginia's status as the best state in which to live, work and do business."

"The Greatest Opportunity: 2012 Jobs and Economic Development Agenda"

ACCESS TO CAPITAL

Small business investor tax credit(Merricks/McDougle)

* This bill would allow an individual income tax credit for qualified investments made to qualified small businesses and are held for two years, beginning on or after January 1, 2013, but before January 1, 2015.
* The tax credit would be equal to 10% of the amount of the qualified investment. Qualified small businesses would be required to be designated as a qualified small business with the Department of Taxation before any tax credits are issued to eligible investors.

Extend the Acceleration of the Major Business Facility Jobs Tax Credit(Kilgore/Reeves)

* Extends the time during which the major business facility job tax credit may be taken over a two-year period from taxable years beginning January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2012, to taxable years beginning January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2014.

Extend the sunset date for investments that qualify for the capital gains income tax subtraction

* Extends 2010 legislation that grants an income tax deduction for any income taxed as a long-term capital gain for federal income tax purposes or any income taxed as investment services partnership interest income, on or after January 1, 2011, that is related to a qualified investment in a technology and science start-up business having a principal office or facility in the Commonwealth and less than $3 million in annual revenues in the fiscal year prior to the investment.
* The deduction originally related to investments made between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2013 this bill would extend the sunset date to June 30, 2015.

INCREASE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COORDINATION

Amend VEDP board composition to include the Secretaries of Agriculture and Forestry and Technology (Scott, E./Hanger)

* Amends Virginia Economic Development Partnership board composition to include the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry and the Secretary of Technology as voting members.

Create economic development grant program targeted specifically at agricultural and forestry operations (Landes/Stanley)

* Legislation will create an economic development grant program targeted specifically at agricultural and forestry operations. There will be two types of grants in the program. Large grants (greater than $50,000) will be given for projects that are value-added or processing operations for Virginia Grown products. Smaller grants (less than $50,000) will be available to localities to assist in the planning and infrastructure development that facilitate agricultural and forestry economic development.
* Localities will apply for the larger grants after working with a new or expanding business. Localities will be required to provide matching funds in order to participate in the program (in-kind contributions will be considered). Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis following review by an advisory committee and final approval by the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. These grants will help to incentivize the creation or expansion of businesses that utilize Virginia agricultural and forestry products. In addition to the capital investments and jobs created at the facility, Virginia growers will also see net revenues increase as a result of having new opportunities to provide products to the facilities.
* The smaller grants can be used by localities to assist in the establishment of comprehensive agriculture and forestry economic development plans and other programs to strengthen opportunities for new and existing agricultural and forestry operations. Localities will be required to provide a match in order to receive the grant. These grants will aid localities in planning for agricultural and forestry operations, thereby creating the opportunities and infrastructure needed to cultivate the expansion of existing growers and attract agriculture and forestry value-added and processing facilities.

Add two university seats to the Modeling and Simulation Advisory Council

* Currently university representation on the Council "sit" in seats that would otherwise be filled by industry experts. The addition of two university seats to the council will allow the universities to continue to be represented and return the number of industry experts to 6 as intended in the legislation.

Adjust Qualifications for Virginia Investment Partnership Program (Cline/Newman)

* Adjusts the qualification criteria for awards from the Virginia Investment Partnership (VIP) program to respond to an active economic development and more effectively incentive expansion of existing Virginia businesses.
* This legislative proposal also makes a technical change to update the source of population data.

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