Jobs & the Economy
A strong and vibrant economy is important to the people of Virginia.
We know government doesn’t create jobs. Small businesses and hard-working entrepreneurs do .Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates have been working to strengthen Virginia’s economy by creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs and protecting small businesses from higher taxes and more regulation. We have also worked to make Virginia one of the nation’s most business-friendly states, helping attract job creators and companies from across the country.
We have worked to keep taxes low, rollback unnecessary regulations and build a strong Virginia workforce. The House of Delegates has defeated $30.2 billion in proposed tax increases since 2003. We passed legislation to encourage entrepreneurs and innovators, make it easier for start-up companies to participate in crowdfunding and expand access to capital from angel investors.
But Virginia faces unique challenges in the years ahead. We are too dependent on federal government spending. Our economy did not grow at all in 2014. The Commonwealth has fallen out of the top 10 in major business rankings. Sequestration has cost Virginia over 150,000 jobs.
Virginia needs a more comprehensive economic development strategy that combines regulatory reform, policies to encourage entrepreneurs and policies to strengthen our workforce. We also need to keep taxes low, make targeted investments in economically struggling regions and continue to improve our infrastructure.
A sales pitch alone will not get Virginia back on its feet. We need to take real, concrete steps – like the ones the House of Delegates has taken over the years – to get Virginia’s economy back on track.
Taxes & Spending
Unlike Washington, Virginia has conservatively and responsibly invested in the core functions of government while keeping taxes low, minimizing debt and balancing our budget.
Since 2007, the General Assembly has cut $7 billion in general-fund spending. Since 2003, the House of Delegates has defeated 26 separate tax hikes that would have cost families and business more than $30.2 billion. Virginia is spending at or below 2007 levels in many categories.
Virginia citizens enjoy one of the lowest tax burdens in the country, but Virginia is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s best-managed states. We do this by setting priorities, making tough decisions and stretching every dollar as far as it can go.
K-12 & Higher Education
A strong education is vital to the future of our Commonwealth. Education is the gateway to opportunity, whether it’s a good job or a college degree. A good education isn’t earned in Richmond, it’s earned in classrooms and around kitchen tables. Republicans in the House of Delegates have worked to give local school leaders, teachers and parents more control over their child’s education.
The House of Delegates is investing in K-12 education and making progress on real reforms that will offer more flexibility, encourage innovation and promote accountability.
The House of Delegates invested over $800 million in new funding in K-12 education this budget cycle. We’ve given teachers two pay raises in three years. These are good investments in our future. We’ve also taken steps to make sure that money is spent in the classroom. Over 65% of what the state spends on education is spent on instruction – that’s up almost five percent from five years ago.
Our work to reform education is always a top priority. In 2014, we led the effort to overhaul Virginia’s Standards of Learning. These reforms have helped improve SOL scores across the Commonwealth. In 2013, we made significant changes to Virginia’s teacher evaluation process in order to help raise teacher standards and promote teacher professionalism.
The results speak for themselves. Virginia’s K-12 education system ranks in the top 10 of four out of five major categories, according to Education Week. Our SOL scores are rising. Accreditation and graduation rates are improving. Virginia students do better than the national average on college entrance exams. Our Advanced Placement achievement ranks third in the country.
Safe communities are a big part of what makes Virginia a great place to live and raise a family.
Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates have fought to make Virginia safer by toughening penalties for criminals, cracking down on sex offenders and keeping drunk drivers off our roads and highways. We continue to build upon this proven record.
Recent legislative accomplishments include strengthening DUI penalties, cracking down on gang violence, keeping families safe from sexual predators and ending the scourge of dangerous drug use. House Republicans have enacted measures making Virginia a national leader in maintaining homeland security, combating identity theft, and implementing needed tort reforms.
In 2013, we passed legislation to strengthen penalties for texting and driving. We passed a law to protect elderly citizens from financial exploitation. In 2012, we made ignition interlock mandatory for individuals convicted of two DUIs. We passed legislation to protect our most innocent and vulnerable citizens by substantially increasing the penalties for the most heinous crimes committed against children under 13 years old.
We are fighting to protect Virginia values, standing up for the 2nd Amendment, promoting the cause of life and fighting back against federal overreach.
We are promoting energy development in Virginia, harnessing our natural resources and encouraging responsible uses of clean energy.
We are standing up for our veterans, fighting for tax relief, better healthcare and economic opportunities for the men and women who have served our country.
Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates worked with Governor McDonnell to solve Virginia’s transportation challenges with a comprehensive reform package that will help Virginia build a 21st century transportation network.
We have held the line on ObamaCare and worked to enact cost-saving reforms for Medicaid.