Governor Glenn Youngkin said Friday his upcoming budget amendment proposal would include $350 million in additional funds for site readiness to add to the $150 million already allocated in the biennial budget. Youngkin told attendees at the Virginia Economic Summit and Forum on International Trade that despite Virginia’s pro-business advantages like the port, the Commonwealth’s workforce, and right-to-work, Virginia needs to do more to attract businesses.
“Virginia often is not selected by businesses, particularly by manufacturing projects, because megasites aren’t ready. Simply put, it’s not that we don’t have enough inventory, we don’t really have any. Since 2016, a lack of project-ready sites has cost Virginia more than 55,000 jobs and $124 billion in capital investment,” he said.
“I am fully committed to supporting the companies in Virginia today who want to grow, we will work to find a site for you, and to bring more companies to Virginia. And to do so, we must first make sure that all of you and all of those other companies have somewhere to go,” he said.
Youngkin discussed other elements of the upcoming budget proposal similarly: the budget passed in June 2022 made strong progress, but Virginia is still trailing southern states that Youngkin uses as economic benchmarks.
In August, Youngkin said he was setting aside $397 million for additional tax relief.
On Friday, Youngkin told the audience, “Competing to win starts with taxes, and that’s both corporate and individual taxes. Why are North Carolina and our competing states winning? Because these states either have or are bringing down their taxes, again both corporate and personal.”
Youngkin also said upcoming actions would focus on cutting regulation, and announced a plan to consolidate Virginia’s workforce development programs to make them more efficient.
He emphasized the importance of education to workforce development, and said high school graduates need to be prepared for the workplace.
“Every student should have the opportunity to graduate with an industry-recognized credential in a relevant field,” he said.
As part of that, Youngkin highlighted dual-enrollment programs where high school students can also be enrolled in college courses with subjects like HVAC repair or welding.
“Our upcoming budget will prioritize expanding these career pathways for students by launching multiple dual-enrollment acceleration programs in partnership with our community colleges and local schools,” he said.
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