Mayor Foreman on Virginia’s Economy & Jobs
According to data released by the United States Department of Commerce, Virginia posted zero percent economic growth in 2014 – that is 0.0% to be exact. That depressing figure ranks Virginia 48th out of 50 states when it comes to economic growth, trailing only Alaska and Mississippi, which saw their economic outputs drop by over 1 percent, respectively.
While some in my party would simply lay all of the blame at Governor McAuliffe’s feet for these dismal numbers during his first year in office, I am not willing to do that. The reality is that prior to Governor McAuliffe’s arrival, our state’s economy was already struggling. According to a recent Washington Post story (“With zero GDP growth, Virginia’s economy flat lines despite McAuliffe’s best efforts,” June 11, 2015), our commonwealth’s GDP was 0.6% in 2011, 0.7% in 2012 and 0.4% in 2013. Yes, it’s better than 0.0% but it’s far from where we need to aspire – and that is turning Virginia back into an economic and job-creating powerhouse.
Speaking parochially, parts of Northern Virginia have been hit harder than anywhere else. Between 2012 and 2013, per capita income has fallen by 2.3 percent in Prince William County. As the Mayor of Dumfries during this time, I have unfortunately seen the economic impact on our families, seniors and businesses firsthand.
My opponent in the 36th District Senate race, incumbent Delegate Scott Surovell, has been in Richmond for nearly six years and someone involved as an insider in politics and government long before that. Delegate Surovell is terrific at identifying problems we already know exist, and repeatedly talking about how important it is that we solve them. Each time he is up for re-election, you’ll see a lot of him in the newspaper making one promise or another about what he’ll do in yet another term in office. I think people are tired of talk, and they’d prefer decisive action that leads to long-term solutions.
As a 25-year Mustang Marine, I was taught to prioritize action over talk. As United States Marines, we were always taught to confront difficult challenges, not run away from them. In addition, as someone who has owned a small business, I understand the what entrepreneurs, employers and employees mean when they voice their concerns about government overregulation and meddling that makes it harder to attract, create and grow jobs here in Northern Virginia.
That’s why as Mayor of Dumfries, along with my colleagues on Council and friends in the business community, I have taken concrete steps to affect positive economic and fiscal changes in my town to help our residents during these tough times, such as:
- Establishing an HUB Zone in Dumfries aimed at sparking economic growth and providing federal contracting preferences to small business owners.
- Bringing together the town’s business and elected leaders for an Economic Summit to outline achievable strategies that we can put into action to make the town more business friendly.
- Created a Revitalization Area that allowed properly qualified developers to secure low-interest financing for their redevelopment projects.
- Cut and, in some cases, eliminated costly fees on businesses and reduced the town’s property tax rate by more than 50%.
Each of these actions has helped to make Dumfries more competitive, and the last one has resulted in our business fees being equal to or less than Prince William County and Stafford County in every category.
I am running for Senate to bring that same common sense problem-solving and strong leadership to Richmond. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of aisle and with Governor McAuliffe to revitalize Virginia’s economy, restore growth and promote policies that help to foster an environment that creates jobs, not repels them.
Together, we can create economic opportunity for all Virginians, and ensure that every resident of our state has a fair chance to thrive and create a better life for them and their families.