Flanked by Democratic and Republican lawmakers and Northern Virginia technology and business leaders, Governor Bob McDonnell today signed into law a number of bills from his successful, “Jobs and Opportunity” legislative agenda that received broad bipartisan backing in the recent General Assembly session. The signing ceremony was held at the Center for Innovative Technology and Northern Virginia Technology Council in Herndon Va.
McDonnell’s, “Jobs and Opportunity” legislative agenda consists of measures designed to spur job creation and promote economic development in Virginia. The bills signed today included tax deductions on capital gains derived from investments in technology, energy, bio-tech and science-based companies operating in the Commonwealth; granting temporary business licenses to individuals who already have a business license or certification from another state; broadening the allowable uses of the Governor’s Development Opportunity Fund to assist in attracting major employers to the Commonwealth; designating the head of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership as CEO; and establishing a bio-tech research performance grant program.
Speaking about the bill signing, Governor McDonnell stated, “The number one job of our Administration is to help create good jobs for the citizens of Virginia. We will do that by investing in proactive policies that help private sector companies expand and grow in the Commonwealth. The states that help lead this country out of this economic downturn will be those that move aggressively to promote job creation and make it easier for entrepreneurs and business owners to be successful. That is what we are doing in Virginia. The bills we are signing today gained broad bipartisan support because job-creation and economic development are bipartisan objectives. I thank the legislative leaders from both parties who helped carry this legislation, and the members of the Virginia technology and business communities who advocated effectively for its passage.”
McDonnell also used the bill signing to comment on budget amendments successfully advanced by the Administration to further assist in the job-creation effort, “We also successfully promoted changes in the introduced budget to invest more in critically important economic development tools. These include the CIT GAP Fund which will provide critical and immediate first financing for 20 new early-stage companies, and position Virginia as a leader in next-generation company formation in the areas of technology, biosciences, and energy. We expanded funding for Virginia’s wet labs so that they can increase lab space to the benefit of growing biotechnology companies. And working together we continued to fund the Virginia Leaders in Export Trade (VALET) Program and provided additional funding for the DBA Loan Guarantee Program which helps finance small businesses at a time when credit markets are tight.”
Lawmakers joining the Governor this afternoon included Senator Mark Herring (D-Loudoun); Senator Janet Howell (D-Fairfax); Senator Walter Stosch (R-Henrico); Delegate Dave Albo (R- Fairfax); Delegate Tom Rust (R- Fairfax); Delegate Tim Hugo (R- Fairfax); Delegate Barbara Comstock (R- Fairfax); Delegate Mark Sickles (D- Fairfax); Delegate Rich Anderson (R-Prince William); Delegate Joe May (R-Loudoun); Delegate Jackson Miller (R-Prince William) and Delegate Mark Keam (D-Fairfax). Among the many leaders from the Northern Virginia technology and business communities in attendance were Bobbie Kilberg, President and CEO of the Northern Virginia Technology Council; Pete Jobse, President and CEO of the Center for Innovative Technology; Mark Herzog, Executive Director of the Virginia Biotechnology Association; John Backus, Managing Partner of New Atlantic Ventures; Spencer Williamson, President and CEO of Intelliject LLC; and Michael Grisham the President of GPB Scientific.
Speaking about his bill to grant an income tax deduction for capital gains derived from investments in technology, science-based or bio-tech start ups in Virginia, Senator Mark Herring remarked, “This legislation tells Virginia investors that if you support the entrepreneurs in this dynamic sector of our economy, state government will support you. Science, technology and bio-tech based jobs are good-paying and fast-growing, and we must take every action possible to make sure they are created in the Commonwealth. This legislation will encourage more investors to put their private capital to work creating good work for Virginians.”
Senator Walter Stosch commented on his legislation to broaden the uses of the job-creating Governor’s Opportunity Fund, noting, “The Governor’s Opportunity Fund is a major asset in our effort to attract major employers to Virginia. This is how we compete with North Carolina and Maryland; Singapore and China. We must be proactive with the Fund, and take the necessary steps to adapt its allowable usage to the current economic environment. This legislation will allow the Fund to be used for the construction or build-out of private buildings, making the Commonwealth a partner in the preparation of sites for new job-creating enterprises. And it makes it easier for companies to benefit from Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grants. These are two important steps forward in the ongoing effort to make Virginia a magnet for good jobs and economic development.”
“Jobs and Opportunity” Agenda Bills That Were Signed Today Included:
SB428 (Herring)/ HB523 (Nixon)- Grants income tax deduction on capital gains related to investments in science based or bio-tech start-ups
- Grants an income tax deduction for any income taxed as a long-term capital gain for federal income tax purposes or any income taxed as investment services partnership interest income that is related to a qualified investment in a technology, bio-technology, or science start-up business having a principal office or facility in the Commonwealth and less than $3 million in annual revenues in the fiscal year prior to the investment. The deduction would relate to investments made between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2013.
SB474 (Watkins)/ HB792 (LeMunyon) – Provides for temporary business licenses
- Authorizes the regulatory boards within the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation to issue a temporary license or certification to an applicant who holds a comparable license or certification issued by another state. A temporary license or certification shall be valid for not more than 45 days.
SB644 (Howell)/ HB677 (May) – Establishes a Biotech 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 will 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.
HB1372 (Comstock) – Changes the title of VEDP Executive Director to CEO
- Changes the title of the Executive Director of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to the Chief Executive Officer.
- This change is important because when VEDP is engaged in negotiations with companies, having VEDP represented by someone with the same title as the person with whom he is negotiating enhances Virginia’s bargaining position instead of a title that could contribute to the appearance that he is governmental and does not understand their business concerns. Often in such negotiations, subtle things like this can make a significant impact and we expect this legislation to help VEDP recruit new jobs and investment to Virginia
SB739 (Stosch/Whipple)/ HB1396 (Putney) – Expands economic development incentive programs to attract major businesses to locate in Virginia
- Allows the use of funds from the Governor’s Development Opportunity Fund for construction or build-out of privately owned buildings
Changes the caps for eligible projects awarded a Virginia Economic Development Incentive Grant (VEDIG) as follows: for eligible projects awarded grants prior to July 1, 2010, the aggregate amount of economic development incentive grants payable under this section in any fiscal year shall not exceed $6 million, and the aggregate amount of such grants outstanding at any time shall not exceed $30 million; and for eligible projects awarded grants on or after July 1, 2010, the aggregate amount of economic development incentive grants payable under this section in any fiscal year shall not exceed $6 million and the aggregate amount of such grants outstanding at any time shall not exceed $30 million.