McDonnell Still Plugging Port Development Subsidies

Governor Bob McDonnell is campaigning hard for an amendment to the 2013-2014 budget that would provide grants to companies locating in the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Zone. A press release from the Governor’s Office lists more than 30 local governments, Chambers of Commerce and other groups, from the Virginia Manufacturers Association to the International Longshoreman’s Association, that support the measure.

The General Assembly had rejected an earlier proposal that offered tax credits on the grounds that tax credits are harder to track than grants. Grants would range between $1,000 per new job for companies that create 25 or more new jobs to $3,000 per job for companies that create 100 or more jobs. Companies involved in distribution, manufacturing, warehousing, wholesaling and the maritime sector would qualify. Total grants would not exceed $5 million in any year.

McDonnell offered this rationale: “Businesses, local governments, and citizens all across the Commonwealth recognize the tremendous importance of the Port of Virginia and its role in spurring economic development and job creation. As we look forward over the rest of this decade, this impact is project to grow tremendously. To realize this growth potential, however, we have to level the playing field with our competitors and incentive the distribution, manufacturing, multi-modal, warehousing and other types of facilities necessary to support a major international port to come to Virginia. Without these types of incentives, the economic development and job creation opportunities surrounding our port will go elsewhere and our competitors will continue to grow.”

Focus on the words “support a major international port to come to Virginia.”

What is this? Is an international corporation considering building a new port in Virginia? If so, who is this entity? Where would they build? Is this entity playing Virginia off against other states? Can we get a clearer explanation of why subsidies are needed over and above the Governor’s Opportunity Fund? Can we have a little more transparency, please?

Update: The General Assembly approved this amendment to the budget May 14.


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  1. larryg Avatar

    After reading the referenced doc, I find myself wanting to see something from McDonnell as a strategy that integrates with the elements of the discussion.

    I actually think McDonnell might be on to a genuine opportunity for Va but he’s doing it in a very Democratic way by claiming the use of tax dollars is an “investment”. Isn’t that ironic? What happened to letting the private sector controlling the market?

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