An Oct. 4 Collegiate Times article reported Blacksburg had been ranked No. 32 in the nation for the Best Small Place for Business and Careers in Forbes Magazine. With a national economy that continues to be stagnant, this is certainly welcome news for Tech students and Blacksburg residents alike.
Not to take away from Blacksburg’s glory, but we are seeing growth like this in many communities across the commonwealth. Again, this is more welcome news for college students looking to find jobs after graduation.
So why are we seeing stories like this about communities here in Virginia? Well, part of that answer lies in how Gov. Bob McDonnell's administration has been governing our state.
The McDonnell administration has been very good to Virginia, with the economy being much stronger than other parts of the country.
Very shortly after McDonnell was sworn into office in January 2010, he appointed Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling as Virginia’s chief jobs creation officer. Together, the two have worked tirelessly to bring high quality jobs to Virginia.
In fact, Virginia has added 151,000 net new jobs since the beginning of 2010. Unemployment in the state has decreased 17 percent and now sits at 5.9 percent, while that national unemployment rate is 7.8 percent.
Also, at the beginning of 2010, Virginia faced a $6 billion budget shortfall left behind by Gov. Tim Kaine. McDonnell and Bolling were able to balance the budget without raising taxes, and the state has now enjoyed back-to-back budget surpluses totaling nearly $1 billion.
All these factors, along with economically conservative policies, such as low tax rates and Virginia’s status as a “right-to-work” state — meaning workers in Virginia are not required to join a union if they work in a unionized environment — make it easy to see why Virginia has consistently been ranked the best state in the nation for business.
There are numerous factors that explain why Blacksburg is seeing business growth, such as a well-educated workforce and the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.
While I do think there are many local issues at play here, people must be aware that our statewide leadership has helped create a business-friendly environment for its towns and cities.
Do I want to minimize or belittle Blacksburg’s success? Absolutely not, because I do not believe Richmond is the only reason Blacksburg is seeing economic growth.
On the other hand, I do want to point out the importance of fiscally responsible governance and urge Virginia Tech students and Virginia residents to consider that when electing the politicians they want in Washington.