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Va.'s Warner, Wolf team up on jobs initiative

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Sen. Mark Warner and Rep. Frank Wolf want the federal government to add muscle to state and local governments’ efforts to keep jobs in the United States.

The two are teaming up to push for a roughly $100 million package of forgiveable loans for businesses that create jobs within rural or economically-distressed regions of the country.

For each job created, recipients may receive a $1,000 loan annually for five years. The loan may be forgiven at the end of that time, to make sure businesses don’t take the money and run. Mr. Warner, Virginia Democrat, said the program is intended to enhance economic packages already offered by state and local governments.

“That loan isn’t going to bring any jobs, but it might be that difference between what the state and locality can put up and this incentive,” Mr. Warner said. “We’re getting our lunch eaten because of the flexibility foreign governments have when trying to create jobs.”

Emphasized heavily by Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, economic incentives are nothing new for Virginia. The General Assembly approved a $55 million incentive package last year, and a smaller one this year.

The plan would also create a repatriation task force within the Commerce Department to help local development offices identify ways for businesses to transfer jobs back to the U.S. from overseas. Both lawmakers say the program be will funded by cutting elsewhere in the budget for the Department of Commerce.

“It would help local businesses better understand their opportunities to bring those businesses back,” said Mr. Wolf, Virginia Republican. “It would incentivize the repatriation of jobs. It’s time to bring them back here to the U.S.”

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