Virginia Economy Growing Well
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling
During the past two years, the General Assembly joined the McDonnell/Bolling administration in making an investment of more than $100 million in Virginia's economic development infrastructure. As a result of this investment and the emphasis we have placed on economic development, more people are back to work and our economy is growing.
Virginia has been propelled to the top of the list of the most business-friendly states in the nation, according to CNBC and Pollina Research. We have closed 768 economic development deals in the past two years and created more than 119,800 net new jobs in our state. Virginia's unemployment rate dropped from 7.2 percent to 5.6 percent, a three year low.
With a new Republican majority in the state Senate and a record number of Republicans in the House of Delegates, we approved a number of important legislative initiatives this session that will help build a better Virginia. In total, 88 percent of our administration's legislative initiatives passed the General Assembly.
The General Assembly joined us in supporting legislation to further enhance our economic development infrastructure, increase access to capital for small businesses and support strategic economic sectors such as manufacturing and agribusiness. This includes legislation that improves the competitiveness and governance of the Port of Virginia and the Virginia Commercial Spaceport at Wallops Island, helping bolster these economic engines of the Commonwealth.
I am also pleased that the General Assembly supported a number of other initiatives that ensure the integrity of our electoral process, protect our right to work law and private property rights, begin the process of reforming state government, including the elimination of four agencies and 24 boards and commissions, and much more. Through significant public safety initiatives, we will keep our streets and children safe. Our legislation in support of Virginia's veterans will help make Virginia the most veteran-friendly state in America.
Our education reform agenda included bold and aggressive legislation focusing on raising third grade reading standards for children, increasing incentives for schools and teachers, reducing mandates on local school divisions, expanding educational options for Virginia students, and funding for critical education and training programs. We also approved a tax credit for corporations and individuals making contributions to non-profit and charity organizations that provide educational improvement scholarships to underserved children.
Our successful transportation legislation expands the revenue sharing program between localities and the state to include maintenance, enhances transportation planning to better integrate with land use, and authorizes the sponsorship of roads, bridges and other infrastructure and facilities as a source of revenue. We also implemented energy legislation that encourages development of renewable thermal energy, increases energy efficiency programs, and creates the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Conversion Fund to advance Virginia as the energy capital of the East Coast.
Another significant achievement was legislation that strengthened the Virginia Retirement System (VRS). These reforms will reduce unfunded liabilities in our retirement system by nearly $9 billion by 2031, an historic achievement that ensures our dedicated state employees will receive the retirement they have been counting on.
While Senate Democrats did their best to block the adoption of a state budget for the 2012-14 biennium, we ultimately succeeded in getting the votes we needed to pass the budget. Our state's new two-year budget will make critical investments in a number of important state programs without raising taxes. It is a fiscally responsible budget that ensures that Virginia's state government will live within its means, like our families and businesses do every day.
While Virginia continues to face many challenges, our state is in much better condition today than it was two years ago. Through responsible, mainstream conservative leadership, we have been able to strengthen our state's financial foundation, create new jobs, and increase critical investments in core state responsibilities while providing fiscal stability for Virginia. I want to thank Governor McDonnell for the leadership he has provided, as well as members of the General Assembly who worked with us to make our goals a reality.
For additional information contact Ibbie Hedrick at 804-225-2487 or firstname.lastname@example.org.