Virginia's chief jobs creator is Republican Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, and on Tuesday he stood up for the small businesses of the Commonwealth and took on the President of the United States.
With many changes in federal regulations that have been passed by the Democratically-controlled Congress since President Barack Obama (D) took office 20 months ago, employers have been negatively affected in a way that has caused layoffs and cutbacks.
Bolling, who heads up the Governor's Commission on Economic Development and Job Creation, made it clear that government cannot continue to prosper at the expense of the private sector and, specifically, the small business people who are so important to communities across the nation.
Without mincing words, Bolling laid it on the line:
“If someone had devised a plan to destroy American business, it would look very much like the policies that have been pursued in Washington for the past 18 months,” he said. “We have to change course.”
By constantly crisscrossing the Commonwealth and talking with businesses, Bolling has a keen insight into the damage they have endured and the consequences that will occur if the federal government continues to stick its nose into the private sector.
Working closely with Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell since both were sworn in eight months ago, Bolling has worked hard to bring jobs, new corporations, and expansions that will provide a whopping $1.7 billion in capital investment to the Commonwealth.
Successes so far have included Fortune 100 company Northrup Grumman who decided to relocate its headquarters from Los Angeles to Falls Church, cyber tech Harris Corporation locating an office in Harrisonburg, new manufacturing jobs in Wytheville, MeadWestvaco moving its packaging division from NC to Richmond, and many more. The work of creating jobs has just begun for the team of McDonnell and Bolling.
While Virginia is trying to create jobs, however, the Democratic Congress continues to pass legislation to squash growth by over-regulating private businesses. A disappointment was the Obama administration's announcement that they intended to close the Norfolk Joint Forces Command Center which would do away with 5,000 jobs.
Bill Bolling pointed out the problems with heavier federal regulations on corporations and Mom-and-Pop companies:
Bolling's advice to Obama included abandoning portions of the health-care overhaul, including fines and penalties on business owners who do not provide health insurance for all employees.
He also suggested relaxing environmental and financial regulations to allow businesses to grow sooner rather than later.
“We have to get the federal regulators off the backs of the banks so they can loan the money they already have to the people who need it the most,” he said. Finally, Bolling asked that Obama pledge to reduce federal spending by a minimum of 5 percent a year with a goal of trimming back to 2006 levels.
Bolling noted that Americans know the country cannot sustain a $14 trillion national debt.
Meanwhile, Obama planned a stop in Richmond Wednesday afternoon to tout all the issues that Republicans consider the wrong approach. Stumping in Republican Congressional Whip Eric Cantor's district, the President will make the pitch to do away with the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250,000, to bash Republicans' “Pledge to America,” and to talk up ObamaCare, stimulus, and other massive government programs.
Many Richmonders are concerned about gridlock during the President's visit to a neighborhood with small, winding roads across the James River from downtown Richmond. All area airports will be shut down for three hours, an inconvenience that was noted by one area airport worker:
“That's 3 hours and 15 minutes of unproductive time,” said Thomas T. “Mike” Mickel Jr., president and CEO of Dominion Aviation Services Inc., which provides air-charter, maintenance and aircraft-fueling services at Chesterfield.
“The president is here touting jobs creation an economic recovery, and the people he is holding up are the ones out in the trenches actually making an effort to do these things.”
Others in the Richmond area communicated on Facebook about blocked roads, inaccessible highways, and the lock-down of the surrounding neighborhood. Many were not happy that the Commander-in-Chief would cause so much inconvenience while talking with only a small group of supporters and not those in the community at large about the ills of the country.
Perhaps Lt. Governor Bolling said it best:
“I realize that there are no silver bullets that will get our economy moving again,” Bolling said, but he added: “There's an old saying that when you find yourself in a hole — and our economy is definitely in a hole — the first step in getting out of the hole is to stop digging.”
November will show if citizens like the President’s brand of change, or if they are ready for change of a different kind.