Creigh Deeds (left) with Sen. Mark Warner at the press conference. That's Valley Business FRONT's Dick Robers at the right^
By DAN SMITH
By DAN SMITH
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds outlined a substantial program for re-starting Virginia's economy this morning at the State and City Building in Roanoke. The plan includes tax breaks, partnerships, worker training, health care for unemployed workers and initiatives for rural Virginia.
In an appearance at what has become a required stop on the campaign trail--the region's first LEED certified commercial building--Deeds outlined a broad program that covered the economy, transportation, education, jobs, the environment and communications. He appeared with Sen. Mark Warner, who noted in brief remarks, that he and other new members of the nation's legislators "didn't appreciate how close we came to total financial meltdown" during the final days of the Bush Administration, until closely examining it during the past few months.
Said Deeds, "Our plan will jump-start our economy, create jobs, reduce taxes on small businesses and position Virginia to succeed and win in a new economy once we recover from this challenging time. This plan also provides targeted resources to help families facing unemployment, workers in need of job training and students interested in high-wage, high-demand jobs."
Warner said, "Virginia led the nation in telecom in the 1980s, we helped lead the Internet revolution during the 1990s and I firmly believe that the next generation of jobs and wealth will be found in the 'green' economy. Creigh has put together a road map that allows Virginia to grasp that opportunity and take advantage of all those possibilities if we prepare Virginians to take a leadership role in the alternative energy field."
Warner pointed out that Virginia has consistently been named the "Best Managed State" by Governing Magazine and the Pew Charitable Trusts over the past number of years and that it is the only state that has maintained an AAA bond rating--crucial to borrowers--for 78 straight years.
Deeds' program has these four components:
Immediate solutions for small business owners, homeowners and workers.
- Tax credits to business for job creation
- Help unemployed workers purchase emergency health insurance
- Double the Governor's Opportunity Fund (which a Deeds bill created in 1998) and put $10 million into job training
- Create a Rural Business Fund to provide loans to small businesses in distressed areas
- Reduce bureaucratic requirements in small business permitting
- Increase contract awards for small, women and minority-owned businesses
- Finish installing broadband by 2013
- Offer loan guarantees to community college students
- Profide grants to community colleges to expand nursing programs
- Boost investment in tourism
- Build a virtual energy research triangle to coordinate research and development in green energy industries
- Set a mandatory renewable standard of 15 percent by 2020 and 22 percent by 2025
- Fund weatherization projects that help low-income Virginians save on energy expenditures
- Work toward a multi-modal transportation immediately
- Expand freight and passenger rail service and create a high-speed rail service
- Reduce rush hour traffic through several measures
- Promote intelligent land-use planning
- Strengthen management of VDOT
- Invest in Virginia's ports and work with military contractors and the Navy
- Expand road and railroad projects in Southwest and Southside
- East congestion on the Cheasapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel
- Name an efficiency director from the business community
- Require state government purchase of drugs in bulk in order to save money
- Promote energy conservation in state facilities
- Create competetive bidding for durable medical equipment purchases
- Maximize efficiency of consumer services
- Create a state employee workforce plan
- Conduct an unclaimed property auction
The complete plan is here.