McDonnell unveils $50 million job creation agenda

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Making good on a campaign promise, today Governor Bob McDonnell unveiled the details of a plan to create approximately 30,000 new jobs.

It's called the "Jobs and Opportunity Agenda"; 20 bills and budget amendments to get Virginians back to work. But, the governor's plan calls for spending money. He still hasn't said everything he'll cut.

In his most heavily attended news conference yet, Governor Bob McDonnell said the 20 bills, if approved, would call for a job-creating investment of $50 million.

"In order to help Virginia recover faster than other states and be positioned for significant economic investment in our state, we must spend money now to make money tomorrow," McDonnell said.

The bills would expand grant funding and tax credits - in theory, making it easier to start a business, or find employment.

"Frankly, when people aren't working, they're not paying payroll taxes, and they're not shopping, they're not paying sales taxes. So this is an area where a rising tide does indeed lift all ships," said Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.

The plan would be funded, in part, through cuts to the Department of Corrections, and re-directing money from the state employee retirement system. But that leaves the governor in a tricky spot: having to spend $50 million to create jobs, while cutting more than $4 billion in other state spending.

Virginia's budget gap, still requires more cuts to transportation, education, and public safety - which advocates say goes hand-in-hand, with jobs.

"If you don't have a safe community, it's gonna be very difficult to, first of all, provide for safe  schools, and also create the incentives to bring businesses into a community that create jobs," said Dana Schrad of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police.

The governor insisted his investment will pay off over time.

"[It's been] estimated that over the next 5 years, those budget amendments alone will generate 30,000 jobs and $311 million in economic impact to the state. I say that's a pretty good deal," McDonnell said.

As for Virginia's $4 billion dollar budget gap: The governor would only say his team is "working on it", adding that the previous administration crafted a budget proposal in six months, while he's been in office only 10 days.

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