McDonnell unveils jobs plan, defends Virginia ballot access

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A new plan to create jobs is being called the "most diverse" ever proposed by the McDonnell administration.

Saying "jobs remain job one", Gov. Bob McDonnell on Wednesday unveiled an agenda that he hopes will pass this year's General Assembly with the help of broad Republican support. The $37 million plan includes tax breaks for small businesses and easier access to credit.

"If you can't borrow, if you can't get access to capital, you can't grow. You can't create jobs," McDonnell said.

250,000 Virginians are currently out of work; unacceptable, McDonnell said...though the numbers appear to be improving.

"It's great that the unemployment rate came from 7.2 to 6.2, but we'd like to remind people that when the  recession started it was 3.4%. So we're not gonna stop working until every Virginia that wants a job, can find a job," said Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.

The bill also calls for more coordination between state departments, as well as plans to grow the manufacturing, film, and tourism sectors. The plan, of course, must pass the General Assembly...where Republicans have a majority in the House of Delegates and a 20/20 member split in the Senate.

Near the end of the morning news conference, the questions shifted to politics. On Iowa, McDonnell predicted a unified Republican party...once the GOP eventually selects a nominee.

"I think there's a little bit of the Waiting for Superman phenomenon this year," McDonnell said.

And with Virginia's primary about two months away...the governor again defended the ballot access rules here...admitting they're strict...but not insurmountable.

"Heck, I did it twice. It can't be that hard," he said, referencing campaigns for governor and attorney general.

Also Wednesday, three candidates who failed to get enough signatures to qualify last year for the Virginia primary, officially joined Rick Perry in suing Virginia to get on the March 6 ballot. The governor appeared unfazed.

"If you want to be president of the United States, you oughta be able to get 10,000 signatures in Virginia,"

The governor said he would be open to considering changes to the ballot access guidelines in the future, but not for the 2012 election.

As for the jobs plan, the governor said Wednesday's announcement is expected to be the first in a series leading up to the beginning of the General Assembly session. That two-month session begins January 11.

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