From Lt. Governor Bill Bolling....
EARLY ECONOMIC SUCCESSES SHOW WHAT CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP CAN DO
When Governor McDonnell and I took office in January, we set two key goals for our first year in office: 1) Getting Virginia's economy moving again and creating jobs for Virginia's families, and 2) Eliminating the $4.2B budget shortfall we inherited and turning our budget shortfalls into surpluses again.
This week we delivered on both of those promises.
Turning Shortfalls Into Surpluses
On Wednesday, Governor McDonnell announced that Virginia ended the 2010 fiscal year with a $220M budget surplus. That is an amazing accomplishment given the fact that six months ago we were facing a $1.8B budget shortfall in the 2010 fiscal year.
There are three factors that helped us accomplish this positive result.
Earlier this year we made the difficult decisions that were necessary to reduce spending and bring our budget into balance without raising taxes.
We used incentives to encourage state agencies to save money, rather than spend their entire budget in the final months of the fiscal year, and we are beginning to see the positive effects of economic growth in Virginia.
As a result of this surplus, we will be able to invest in some important government programs.
For example, $18M will be directed to Virginia's public schools; approximately $20M will be dedicated to the Transportation Trust Fund; $22M will go to the water Quality Improvement Fund; and $82M will be used to provide a 3% bonus for state employees, who have not received a pay raise in three years.
We will appropriate the remaining surpluses later this year in accordance with statutory requirements and final financial calculations.
Creating Jobs For Virginia's Families
On Thursday, Governor McDonnell and I gave an update on our efforts to get Virginia's economy moving again and create jobs for Virginia's families. Fortunately, it was more good news.
Since February 2010, Virginia has added 71,500 net new jobs. This is the third highest jobs creation rate in the nation.
During the first six months of the administration, Virginia has closed 110 economic development deals, which will eventually create over 7,100 new jobs and more than $1B in capital investment.
Interestingly, 80% of these new jobs have been created in the private sector, as opposed to the public sector; and the new jobs announcements have been evenly distributed across our state, with significant economic development occurring in rural parts of Virginia, where it is really needed.
These positive results show that we are on the right track. We are working hard and we are making smart decisions that will better position Virginia to take advantage of a future economic resurgence.
Despite these positive results, we still have a lot of work to do to lead Virginia to a period of greater economic prosperity.We will not stop until we return our unemployment rates to historic levels and every Virginian has the opportunity to access to a good paying job.
Likewise, we will keep our focus on controlling government spending and making certain that our budgets are balanced.
These results show what conservative leadership can do and how government can work for the people when it adheres to sound principles. Wouldn't it be great if we could get our friends in Washington to take a page from the Virginia playbook?