“Jobs governor”?

Can we all agree that the notion of either gubernatorial candidate being a “jobs governor” (as McDonnell has branded himself) is fundamentally bullshit? A governor has a very limited capacity to create jobs. I will buy that it’s possible that a governor, over the course of four years, can woo a couple of big employers to have an impact on a locality. A few hundred jobs in Martinsville, another few hundred in Waynesboro. I don’t want to sell short the value of that. But these guys aren’t running for governor of Augusta County, they’re running for governor of Virginia, in a country that’s in terrible economic shape. Unless our next governor is going to sell bonds to hire employees for public works projects, there’s virtually nothing that they can do to employ the overwhelming majority of the unemployed folks in Virginia.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

8 replies on ““Jobs governor”?”

  1. … Unless one believes that reducing taxes and regulations spur companies into creating jobs, in which case the Governor’s veto could be considered “job creating.”

    Is it a cheesy marketing gimmick? Sure, but it’s a heckuva lot more specific than “HOPE” and “CHANGE,” ain’t it?


  2. I’m not sure what Brian does, but I am in business and it is not so simple as low taxes and low regulation. Maybe he did the same thing in the 1950s.

    I have worked in economic development. By any objective measure, quality of life means more than low taxes and low regulation, otherwise Mississippi would lead the nation in job creation, wouldn’t it?

    Quality of life is the single most important cluster of factors that lure jobs. That’s been proven repeatedly. And that cluster has, in order: a stable business environment; excellent primary, secondary and higher education; a great transportation network; great health care; open space and parks; cultural amenities, and an inclusive society.

    A Governor may not create jobs, but he can do a helluva lot to foster the things that do.

  3. Every year, Virginia is ranked as the #1 place in the nation for businesses. I’ve owned and operated a trio of businesses and, really, there aren’t any major hurdles to starting a business in this state. The major regulation exists as a result of industries demanding to be regulated—Dominion Power being a prime example. You’ll find vanishingly few instances of the General Assembly establishing regulation that wasn’t proposed by the industry being regulated, or at least the dominant business within that industry in Virginia.

  4. Virginia localities HOPE that the Federal government sends more Stimulus money because Virginia’s Republican-controlled revenue policy is not going to CHANGE anytime soon.

    I HOPE to put up solar panels but the General Assembly enacted laws that allow electric utilities to take my electricity without paying me. My legislator takes money from these utilities so I need to CHANGE my representative.

  5. So, with Dominion as an example, would you prefer to move to deregulate the electric market? And I am not referring to that purposely ineffective method we tried with the Restructuring Act.

  6. I appreciate Curious’ and Waldo’s comments. One thing I’d like to see is more emphasis in high school on encouraging kids to think like entrepreneurs rather than just waiting for a job to appear. Jobs that are mostly far away, meaning there goes our $100,000 investment in K-12 education.

  7. Robert makes a great point. A class that delved into franchise contracts and laws, payroll taxes, and bookkeeping might attract students across the spectrum of interests and futures.

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