Gubernatorial and Lieutenant Gov. candidates discuss what state needs to do for better business-friendliness.
Earlier this year, Virginia ranked seventh best for business in CNBC’s annual state-by-state economic climate scorecard. The rating was based on several factors:
- Workforce (ranked 2nd)
- Infrastructure (25th)
- Cost of doing business (35th)
- Economy (20th)
- Quality of life (17th)
- Technology and innovation (16th)
- Education (13th)
- Business friendliness (7th)
- Access to capital (13th)
- Cost of living (28th)
However, in a recent Roanoke Times op-ed, State Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, a candidate for lieutenant governor, cautions that Virginia shouldn’t rush to congratulate itself because there’s still a lot of work to do. First, she writes, while the bump from 13th to seventh is an improvement, the state’s grades only increased 3 percent to 60 percent, or D-, which is a barely passing grade. Plus, while Virginia’s ranking overall increased, it dropped in the categories of education, quality of life, technology and innovation, and business friendliness.
Vogel writes, “When it comes to restoring our business-friendly reputation, we must remove unnecessary barriers that keep existing businesses from expanding, starting with reforming Virginia’s regulatory code. According to a recent analysis from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the Virginia regulatory code consisted of over 32,000 unique sections of text and as of 2016, it contained 8.8 million words and 133,094 restrictions. The more time and money Virginia’s small business owners spend navigating the morass of laws and codes, the less time they spend hiring new employees, purchasing new equipment, and growing the local economy.”
Meanwhile, other reforms—especially tax cut promises—are being discussed on the gubernatorial campaign trail, such as an across-the-board income tax cut, a grocery sales tax cut, and prohibition of some local business taxes. It remains to be seen what reforms will actually come to pass.