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State’s pro-business environment encourages growth

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The best incentive that Virginia offers is its pro-business economic climate. By offering sound fiscal management, conservative business regulations and a growing and diverse economy, Virginia has positioned itself to be an excellent place to do business.

To support a pro-business environment, Virginia offers many incentives to assist business growth and encourage startups. These incentives include financial assistance, facilities development grants, tax credits and exemptions. In addition to financial incentives, Virginia also offers work-force training and technical support programs. The   following list includes a few of the more popular incentives.  For more information, go to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Web site http://www.yesvirginia.org/pdf/guides/BusinessIncentives.pdf

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Work-force services
The commonwealth’s Workforce Services Jobs Investment Program provides an economic development incentive for business relocation and expansion projects — working with Virginia businesses to provide customized recruiting and training programs. Small business may also qualify for training and retraining programs. Visit http://www.dba.state.va.us/vjip.shtml

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Corporate income tax incentives
The Virginia corporate income tax rate is a flat 6 percent. However, the sales factor in the state’s income apportionment formula is double weighted, benefiting companies with high payrolls and property in Virginia.

Worker retraining tax credit
Employers receive tax credits for 30 percent of expenditures on worker retraining programs for qualified employees. Eligible programs include courses at Virginia community colleges, certified by the Virginia Department of Business Assistance, or apprenticeship agreements certified by the Virginia Apprenticeship Council.

Contact:
Virginia Department of Business Assistance
P.O. Box 446
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 371-8200
http://www.vdba.virginia.gov

Property tax incentives
Virginia does not tax property at the state level. Real estate and tangible personal property are taxed at the local level. A company will pay either county or city taxes depending on its location. There is a long list of items that Virginia does not tax, including: manufacturers’ inventory, intangible property and furniture/fixtures.

Sales and use tax exemptions
Virginia has one of the lowest sales tax rates in the country — 5 percent (4 percent state, 1 percent local). There are some exemptions, such as items purchased for resale or used in manufacturing, pollution control devices, purchases used in research and development, and charges for utilities and Internet access.

Contact:
Virginia Dept. of Taxation
P.O. Box 1115
Richmond, Virginia 23218
(804) 367-8037
http://www.tax.virginia.gov

Enterprise zones
The enterprise zone program encourages investment and job creation in designated urban or rural zones throughout Virginia. The program offers cash grants for creation of jobs that offer health benefits and pay a wage at least 1.75 times above the federal minimum wage. Cash grants are also available for qualified real estate investments in the designated zones.

Contact:
Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development
501 N. Second St.
Richmond, Virginia 23219
(804) 371-7030
http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov

Technology zones
Jurisdictions in Virginia can establish technology zones to attract targeted industries. Qualified businesses locating or expanding in a zone receive local permit and user fee waivers, local tax incentives, special zoning treatment or exemptions from ordinances. Once a zone is established, the incentives can be provided for up to 10 years.

The Workforce Investment Act
The WIA was established in 1998, streamlining existing federal statutes regarding adult education, job training and vocational training. The act created local Virginia Workforce Councils that include representatives from local business, education, labor and community-based organizations. The councils are awarded grants to help with job search assistance, career counseling, job vacancy information and training. The Virginia Community College System is administering the WIA at the state level.

Contact:
Virginia Community College System
101 N. 14th St.
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 819-4987
http://www.vccs.edu

Foreign trade zones
There are five foreign trade zones in Virginia, designated by the U.S. Department of Commerce. These zones allow businesses to defer paying U.S. customs duties on imported goods held within the zone until the goods enter the United States for consumption. No duties are paid if the goods are re-exported. Companies also do not have to pay duties on any goods that are damaged or on waste products.

Contact:
Virginia Department of Business Assistance
P.O. Box 446
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 371-8221
http://www.vdba.virginia.gov

Business One Stop System
The online Business One Stop tool can simplify starting a business by producing a customized, step-by-step list of the permits and licenses needed and the resources that can help.  By visiting http://www.vdba.virginia.gov click,ing the Business One Stop logo and answering a few simple questions, a detailed “to do” list, including links to print forms, the mystery surrounding starting a business is solved.

Virginia Department of Minority Business Enterprise
The program provides advice, technical support and access to capital for minority businesses, along with offering certification that can help win business from state agencies and other private-sector vendors.

Contact:
Virginia Department of Minority Business Enterprise
1111 E. Main St., Suite 300
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 786-6585
http://www.dmbe.virginia.gov

A.L. Philpott Manufacturing Extension Partnership
With field offices around the state, the VPMEP provides manufacturers with expertise in areas such as hiring, supply-chain management and lean management practices. It also partners with facilities such as the Virginia Applied Technology & Professional Development Center at Old Dominion University and the Manufacturing Technology Center in Wytheville.

Contact:
A.L. Philpott Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Northern Virginia: (540) 722-3405
Richmond: (804) 323-2226
Southside: (434) 852-6136
http://www.vpmep.org

Virginia Enterprise Initiative
A program that helps low-income, women, and minority entrepreneurs get business skills training and access to capital, including loans up to $35,000. The program operates at locations around the state.

Contact:
Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development
501 N. Second St.
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 371-7040
http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov

Virginia Small Business Financing Authority
Run by the financial services division of the Department of Business Assistance, the authority helps businesses with public and private financing and is the statewide issuer of industrial development bonds.

Contact:
Virginia Department of Business Assistance
P.O. Box 446
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 371-8221
http://www.vdba.virginia.gov/financing_business/shtml

Virginia Tobacco Commission
Southside Capital Access Program
The program encourages banks in Southside to lend money to borrowers who might not otherwise qualify for loans. It creates and helps to fund a loan loss reserve at each participating bank.

Contact:
Virginia Small Business Financing Authority
P.O. Box 446
Richmond, Virginia 23218-0446
(804) 371-8254
Fax (804) 225-3384
http://www.vdba.virginia.gov/ financing_business/shtml


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