June 30th, 2017


Uncertainty doesn’t deter Virginia exporters Virginia Business Magazine

The importance of trade continues to rise in Virginia, becoming a major factor in the growth of its economy. Virginia exported goods and services worth $35.2 billion in 2015, according to the Brookings Institution. A recent study by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce showed that nearly 30 percent of the commonwealth’s economic growth can be attributed to exports.

“The reality is that international trade has created huge new markets and the potential for tapping into them … is unprecedented,” says Van Wood, a Virginia Commonwealth University international marketing professor who works with companies examining export opportunities. “What we really don’t need to say is: ‘Let’s cut back on trade.’ We need to get more people involved to take advantage of these markets.”

For the Record – July 2017 Virginia Business Magazine

Virginia Chamber of Commerce officials made a stop in Bristol in May to poll local business, government and health leaders about what they think the General Assembly needs to do to help business and economic development growth in the state. The chamber is gathering information from business leaders to compile Blueprint Virginia 2025 — an eight-year guideline for Virginia’s governor and legislators to follow when considering legislation that affects the state’s economy. Blueprint Virginia 2025 will be presented to the newly elected governor in December.

Virginia Policy

Dozens of new Virginia laws go into effect Saturday. How will they change your life? Pilot

Nearly 1,800 state laws will go into effect Saturday, many of which will affect our daily lives.

Laws Target Drivers, Smokers, Hunters, Mutilators, Scalpers AP

This year’s legislative session lacked any landmark compromises between the Republican-controlled General Assembly and Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Instead, lawmakers focused on adjusting the state budget to give public employees raises, particularly law enforcement officials.

 Still, there are new laws going into effect July 1 that could affect Virginians’ daily lives in ways big and small.

Editorial: Should GO Virginia take a more assertive role in Southwest Virginia? Roanoke Times

We don’t need a commission to tell us what those problems are. We already know: A workforce that doesn’t have the skills the new economy requires, a lack of investment capital, a lack of ready sites — a lack of a lot of things. What are the most creative solutions we can put together to tackle those?

Federal Policy

Sens. Kaine and Warner say GOP senators don’t understand how their health care bill will hurt people Pilot


Virginia Medicaid program estimates $1.4 billion hit from Senate health care bill over seven years RTD


US Chamber of Commerce backs Senate GOP healthcare bill DC Examiner

The group, which represents business organizations, said it supported the bill’s draft because it repeals the mandates and many of the taxes in Obamacare, including the medical device tax and the employer mandate that requires businesses with more than 50 full-time employees offer medical coverage. It also pointed to the flexibility and funding it said the bill allows states in crafting their own healthcare proposals. 

“While the Chamber recognizes that further improvements can—and must—be made, passage of this legislation is vital to restoring choice, flexibility and innovation to America’s healthcare markets and growth to our economy,” Jack Howard, senior vice president of congressional and public affairs for the chamber, wrote in the letter.


Editorial: These environmental groups outspend Dominion RTD

As it turns out, environmental groups sometimes outspend Dominion — not just by a little bit, but by a lot.

 …Using data from the Virginia Public Access Project, the Staunton News Leader found that “over the last decade the top three environmental campaign donors, the League of Conservation Voters, NextGen Climate Action, and the Sierra Club, have shelled out a combined $4,993,560 to individual statewide candidates compared to Dominion’s figure of $3,319,853.” Gov. Terry McAuliffe, for instance, got $75,000 from Dominion — a fact that critics of his support for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline have not ignored. Yet the $3.8 million McAuliffe got from green groups swamps that sum.

 Corporate contributions often are said to “buy” politicians. But if that is true of some campaign donations, then it is true of all of them. Campaign donations are either corrupting, or they are not. And if Dominion’s donations to political coffers deserve skeptical scrutiny, then so do donations from its antagonists.


Gillespie touts jobs, diversification during local campaign stops Bristol Herald Courier

GOP gubernatorial candidate Gillespie addresses health care battle WAVY

After primary loss, Perriello will lead new PAC supporting Democratic candidates for Virginia House RTD

Perriello, who will serve in a paid capacity as the PAC’s CEO, didn’t name any specific candidates, but said the organization will work to support candidates “excited” about going out and winning votes of people who normally don’t pay attention to down-ticket races in an off-year election.

Libertarian candidate for Virginia governor qualifies for November ballot Pilot

Four years ago, Libertarian Robert Sarvis qualified for the gubernatorial election but collected less than 7 percent of the popular vote. Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe narrowly defeated GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli in 2013 by 56,435 votes out of 2.2 million cast.

Business News

NCI signs new partnership with JMU Martinsville Bulletin

Starting this fall, JMU officials will work with NCI on a 2 + 2 program. That means students could complete the first two years of higher education at a community college like Patrick Henry Community College and then finish the third and fourth years in a JMU program at NCI.

 Specifically in this case, the focus would be a bachelor of science degree program in integrated science and technology, with concentrations in telecommunications and network security, engineering/advanced manufacturing or robotics.

 Colonial Williamsburg lost $148,000 a day last year, now plans layoffs and outsourcing Pilot


Economic development is a top concern for Southwest Virginia county officials Bristol Herald Courier

Kilgore noted that an overwhelming number of those in the room said that economic development and jobs are their main issues.

 “You’re all on the front line trying to make those budgets balance, and it’s getting harder and harder as we’re losing jobs and people,” Kilgore said.

 Population loss in Virginia’s coalfields region projected to continue for decades Roanoke Times

Nearly every locality in the coalfields region will lose population through 2040, with Buchanan County projected to be the state’s fastest-shrinking locality, according to the latest projections from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

 The coalfields region — Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Scott, Russell, Tazewell and Wise counties and city of Norton — is expected to lose about 8 percent of its population between 2020 and 2040, the center concluded.

 Chesapeake will become Virginia’s second-largest city by 2020, new data show Pilot

Portsmouth is the only South Hampton Roads city expected to see a population decline. It is projected to fall from an estimated 98,000 in 2020 to 90,000 by 2040. Virginia Beach will remain the state’s most populous city, reaching 491,000 residents by 2040.

 Regional businesspeople tout benefits of natural gas Roanoke Times

Crawford is vice president and general manager for Steel Dynamics, Roanoke Bar Division, which has about 430 employees. He said Indiana-based Steel Dynamics, which acquired Roanoke Electric Steel in 2006, would not have launched an ongoing $28 million expansion of the Roanoke division without believing there would be a reliable source of natural gas in the years ahead.