Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bob McDonnell's Sorry Record on Job Creation

Given Bob McDonnell's political ambitions for national office, he's busy touting himself as a job creator, but many of the jobs are low end of the sort Rick Perry bragged about in the false "Texas miracle." Yes, the economy sucks, and yes there is stiff competition with other states, but nowhere in McDonnell's snake oil sales pitch does he admit that Virginia's reactionary image which has been worsened by both his own actions and the actions of Ken "Kookinelli" Cuccinelli and Republican Party of Virginia lunatics like Bob Marshall knocks Virginia off the list of potential relocation/expansion sites for many businesses. Most job growth in the state has been concentrated in Northern Virginia close to the far more liberal District of Columbia with liberal jurisdictions like Fairfax County and the cities of Arlington and Alexandria. Among the areas of Virginia seeing the least job growth is Hampton Roads which continues to experience the flight of young college educated individuals who seek jobs in more liberal and progressive states and cities. The Virginian Pilot looks at "Taliban Bob's effort to cast himesrlf as something that he's not. Here are highlights:

While Northern Virginia has garnered the largest number of new jobs during his [Bob McDonnell's]time in office, Hampton Roads also lags slightly behind the Richmond area, which just before Christmas landed the state's single biggest jobs deal since 2004: two distribution centers for the online retailer Inc.

In all, the administration says it has brought 5,515 jobs to Hampton Roads. Of those, more than 2,100 came with pledges of government financial aid and other public assistance totaling nearly $5 million, according to a review of economic development announcements by The Virginian-Pilot.

Yet those anticipated gains aren't nearly enough to offset the 45,000-plus jobs the region has shed since the start of the recession, according to federal labor statistics.

State officials say they showcase Hampton Roads assets to prospective corporate tenants, but the ultimate decision on where to relocate or expand is up to the businesses. And even when companies select this area, McDonnell said, it can take a few years for them to start hiring.

Saddled with a sluggish economy, the governor has aggressively marketed the state as "open for business." He's worked to promote its corporate-friendly reputation and reduce regulations, and he won legislative approval for a $100 million package of tax credits and other financial incentives.

[T]he bright spots emphasized by state officials don't overshadow anemic job growth that is "but a drop in the bucket to what we need" to reverse years of losses, according to Michael Cassidy, president of the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, which advocates for policies to help low- and middle-income Virginians.

Factoring in growth in the working-age population, the institute estimates Virginia needs another 291,400 jobs to return to pre-recession levels. The latest employment data back that up - labor figures show about 127,000 fewer people are working in Virginia now than before the downturn became evident in the state labor market.

[W]ith federal budget cuts looming, there's cause for concern in Hampton Roads, a region acutely vulnerable because of its reliance on defense spending, said James Koch, an economist and former Old Dominion University president. Koch sees other trouble spots in the lack of a robust recovery in port activity and in housing prices, which have a direct impact on real estate taxes that are a key source of revenue for localities.

McDonnell's claims about his job creation prowess deserve about as much credibility as the "ex-gay" myth peddled by his buddy, Pat Robertson.

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