- The Washington Times - Friday, July 10, 2009

The Republican candidate for Virginia governor Thursday laid out four initiatives aimed at bringing jobs to the state - and he took a swipe at the current administration for not doing all it could to attract new business.

Robert F. McDonnell said Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, hasn’t used $11.2 million in the Governor’s Opportunity Fund, which was created to help attract new businesses to the state with economic incentives.

Mr. McDonnell said he would tap the fund, and he wants to double the amount of money available.

“The current governor unfortunately over the last couple years has not fully used the monies available in the Governor’s Opportunity Fund, which is extremely puzzling,” Mr. McDonnell said. “If I was governor, I would be dispatching immediately to bring jobs to Virginia or to extend existing businesses.”

Mr. McDonnell also said he would appoint Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling the “chief job creation officer for Virginia,” designate a deputy secretary of commerce to focus on rural development and lower the threshold for $1,000 tax credits to businesses that build a “major facility” in the state.

Currently, if an employer creates 100 jobs - or 50 jobs in economically distressed areas - the firm receives a $1,000 tax credit for each employee. Mr. McDonnell proposed lowering the number to 50 jobs statewide or 25 jobs in hard-hit areas.

Mr. McDonnell’s Democratic opponent, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, dismissed Mr. McDonnell’s initiatives and jabbed at him for his announcement of a new role for Mr. Bolling.

“My opponent has a long record of supporting [former Republican Gov.] Jim Gilmore’s fiscal gimmicks and opposing [former Democratic Gov.] Mark Warner’s bipartisan economic recovery plan. So, it’s no wonder my opponent wants to appoint somebody else to be in charge of job creation,” Mr. Deeds said.

For his part, Mr. Bolling said he would travel the state on a jobs listening tour for the next four months in preparation for his new role.

Mr. Bolling’s opponent, Jody Wagner, highlighted her experience in office as the state’s secretary of finance. Her campaign said she “has been a key part of the Warner-Kaine team that has created nearly 200,000 new jobs, righted the state’s fiscal ship, and maintained Virginia’s AAA credit rating.”

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