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McDonnell unveils jobs plan

Anita Kumar

Gov. Bob McDonnell unveiled his jobs plan at a packed news conference at the state Capitol today. He was joined by Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng and legislators of both parties.

The legislative package consists of 20 bills, as well as previously announced budget amendments.

The package includes providing tax credits for movie production, helping veterans open small businesses, directing future royalties from offshore drilling to transportation and creating the Virginia Universities Clean Energy Development and Economic Stimulus Foundation to encourage energy research and economic development.

A preliminary economic impact analysis prepared by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership estimates that the budget initiatives will lead to more than $311 million in new revenue for the state over five years and the creation of more than 29,000 jobs over two years.

"I have made creating jobs and bringing more opportunity to every region of Virginia my top priority,'' McDonnell said.

See below for McDonnell's proposals:

Job Creation

Governor's Development Opportunity Fund -- Criteria for awarding grants and loans
Provides that criteria to be used in awarding grants and loans from the Governor's Development Opportunity Fund shall include (i) job creation, (ii) private capital investment, and (iii) anticipated additional state tax revenue expected to accrue to the state and affected localities as a result of the capital investment and jobs created.

Governor's Development Opportunity Fund -- Authority to award grants
Governor's discretion for use of GOF funds -- may include a requirement for local match which may be cash or in-kind; and may waive the cap for qualifying projects.

Enterprise Zone Grant Program
Changes the eligibility for enterprise zone job grants in areas with an unemployment rate that is one and one-half times or more than the state average to positions paying at least 150 percent of the federal minimum wage including health benefits.
Currently positions paying less than 175 percent of the federal minimum wage are not eligible for the job grants.
In addition, the bill provides that when the sum of grants for job creation and real property investment exceeds the total annual appropriation for payments, allocations shall be prioritized to fully fund the grants for job creation with any remaining funds to be allocated to the real property investment grants.

Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUB Zones)
Support businesses in rural and economically distressed urban areas through the creation of a state HUB Zone Program -- requiring that at least 15% of state procurement contracts be awarded to qualified small businesses.

Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit -- Lowers threshold for qualifying jobs; Amends the Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit.
Current law provides a $1,000 tax credit for major business facilities that create at least 100 qualified full-time jobs. This legislation will lower the threshold to 50 full-time jobs.
In enterprise zones or economically distressed areas, the base or threshold is lowered from 50 newly created jobs to 25.
The changes also allow the credit to be taken over a two-year period for taxable years beginning January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2012, rather than December 31, 2010.

Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit -- Lowers threshold for qualifying projects in distressed areas
Lowers from 50 to 25 the threshold number of employees of a major business facility in an enterprise zone or distressed area for the facility to qualify for tax credits for newly created jobs.

Permit fees; veterans waiver
Requires state regulatory agencies to waive administrative fees for issuing a permit when the application is submitted by a veteran in connection with his establishment and operation of a small business.

Economic Development
Center for Rural Virginia Board of Trustees; membership
Adds the Lieutenant Governor and the Secretary of Commerce and Trade or their designees to the membership of the Board of Trustees of the Center for Rural Virginia.

Income taxes; recognition of income from capital gains
Grants an income tax exemption for any gain taxed as a capital gain for federal income tax purposes, on or after January 1, 2010, that is related to a qualified investment of a technology and science start-up business made in the first three years in which the business was founded.

Motion picture film production tax credits
Provides income tax credits to any motion picture production company with qualifying expenses of at least $250,000 with respect to a film production in the Commonwealth, for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2010.
Total credits allowed for any biennium cannot exceed $5 million.

Specialized Biotechnology Research Performance Grant Program
Establishes the Specialized Biotechnology Research Performance Grant Program for nonprofit entities engaged in research, development, and production related to molecular diagnostics and drug development that enter into a performance-based memorandum of understanding with the Commonwealth prior to June 30, 2010.
Grants would be paid to an eligible entity based in Fairfax County that commits in the memorandum of understanding and fulfills its obligation to (i) make a new capital investment of at least $200 million, (ii) create at least 415 new full-time jobs, and (iii) meet any other criteria set forth in the memorandum of understanding.
Grants from the program to a qualified entity shall not exceed $22 million in the aggregate.

Virginia Economic Development Partnership
Changes the title of the Executive Director of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to the Chief Executive Officer.

Public-Private Partnership Economic Development Fund
Authorizes state agencies and state authorities, upon the approval of the Governor, to enter into agreements with private entities under the Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995 and the Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002 for the development of a project by the private entity, which agreements provide for the private entity to be paid grants from a portion of the growth in state taxes and fees attributable to the development of the project.
The bill also would allow local governments, agencies, and authorities, upon the approval of the governing body of the locality, to join in the agreement entered into between the private entity and the state agency or state authority.

Small Business Investment Company Credit
Provides for the creation of private investment funds (up to $100 million) that will invest in small businesses located in Virginia.

Establish Major Employment and Investment Project Site Planning Grant Fund and Program
Establish a mega-site fund of $5 million for FY 2011-2012.
This fund will support efforts to improve site location development to encourage large businesses to locate to the Commonwealth and create new jobs.

Alcoholic beverage control; wine liter tax
Requires the portion of the wine liter tax collected from the sale of wine produced by farm wineries to be deposited in the Virginia Wine Promotion Fund for use by the Wine Board.

Recruitment

Temporary Business License for Businesses in Good Standing
Allows businesses operating in good standing in another state to receive a temporary business license to operate in Virginia.

Energy

Virginia Universities Clean Energy Development and Economic Stimulus Foundation
Creates the Virginia Universities Clean Energy Development and Economic Stimulus Foundation as a body corporate and a political subdivision of the Commonwealth.
The Foundation shall identify, obtain, disburse, and administer funding for (i) research and development of alternative fuels, clean energy production, and related technologies; (ii) support of economic development projects in disadvantaged rural areas; and (iii) the provision of assistance in the commercialization of alternative fuels and clean energy technologies.
Funding shall be awarded only to those proposed projects that best meet the established criteria and purposes of this act.
SB326 and HB928

Royalties from offshore drilling
Requires that 80 percent of any revenues and royalties paid to the Commonwealth as a result of offshore natural gas and oil drilling shall be deposited to the Transportation Trust Fund.
The remaining 20 percent will be invested in renewable energy research and development.

Green Jobs Tax Credit
Allows a $500 income tax credit for the creation of "green" jobs for taxable years beginning on and after January 1, 2010.
Each taxpayer is allowed a credit for up to 350 new green jobs and may qualify for the Enterprise Zone Grant program if the job is located in an enterprise zone.

By Anita Kumar  |  January 26, 2010; 12:40 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Robert F. McDonnell  
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