Industries Ports/Trade

McDonnell pushes port economic development zone plan

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Gov. Bob McDonnell is pushing his budget amendment to create an economic development zone to provide grants to maritime-related companies locating or expanding in the zone.

McDonnell touted names of 33 localities, chambers of commerce and business groups that support his amendment, which would provide grants to qualified businesses creating at least 25 jobs in the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Zone.

The General Assembly last month rejected an earlier McDonnell amendment that offered tax credits. Some legislators oppose using tax credits as incentives because they are more difficult to track.

The legislature meets Monday to decide on McDonnell’s amendments to the budget it passed last month.

“Without these types of incentives, the economic development and job creation opportunities surrounding our port will go elsewhere, and our competitors will continue to grow,” McDonnell said in statement.

Under the amendment, grants would be awarded to maritime companies, or those involved in exporting and importing of goods through the Port of Virginia, that create at least 25 jobs in the first year of expansion or operation within the zone.

The one-time grants would be $1,000 per full-time job created if companies add 25 to 49 employees, $1,500 per job if companies add 50 to 74 jobs, $2,000 per job for companies adding 74 to 99 jobs, and $3,000 per job created if companies added at least 100 jobs.

A company could earn a maximum of $500,000 in a fiscal year, while the overall grant is capped at $5 million per year.

The following localities would be part of the zone: the counties of Brunswick, Chesterfield, Charles City, Clarke, Dinwiddie, Frederick, Gloucester, Greensville, Henrico, Hanover, Isle of Wight, James City, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, New Kent, Prince George, Southampton, Surry, Sussex, Warren, and York; and the cities of Chesapeake, Colonial Heights, Emporia, Hampton, Hopewell, Newport News, Norfolk,  Petersburg, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Richmond, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, and Winchester. 

The following groups have endorse the creation of the zone:

•        Brunswick County
•        Clarke County
•        Dinwiddie County
•        Frederick County
•        Greenville County
•        Hanover County
•        Isle of Wight County
•        Mecklenburg County
•        Prince George County
•        Southampton County
•        Warren County
•        City of Colonial Heights
•        City of Hopewell
•        City of Newport News
•        City of Petersburg
•        City of Poquoson
•        City of Virginia Beach
•        City of Williamsburg
•        The Dinwiddie County Chamber of Commerce
•        The Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce
•        The Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance
•        The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce
•        The Hopewell Prince George Chamber of Commerce
•        The Isle of Wight – Smithfield – Windsor Chamber of Commerce
•        The Petersburg Chamber of Commerce
•        The Top of Virginia Regional Chamber
•        The Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce of Commerce
•        The Warren County Economic Development Authority
•        The Richmond Regional Planning District Commission
•        The Virginia Chamber of Commerce
•        The Virginia Manufacturer’s Association
•        The Virginia Maritime Association
•        The International Longshoreman’s Association – Virginia

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