Thanks to the Trump tax cuts, a renewed priority on national defense, and an embattled Northam administration unable to interfere, Virginia Republicans can rejoice knowing that they have finally been able to let the economy breathe a little as CNBC reports that Virginia has regained its position as the best state in the nation to do business:
This is the Old Dominion’s fourth win in the 13 years since the study began. In fact, Virginia was CNBC’s inaugural Top State in 2007. But this is its first win since 2011. That year began a five-year leveling off in defense spending — a key part of the economy in Virginia. Defense spending accounts for nearly 12% of the Commonwealth’s GDP, more than any other state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Now the Pentagon’s budget is back in a big way, rising to $686 billion for fiscal year 2019. In the state where the Pentagon is located, that is welcome news.
But Virginia’s success involves much more than the military. The state offers the best workforce in the country, reveals our 2019 study. Nearly 38% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, placing Virginia in the top 10 for educational attainment. And per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Virginia has the nation’s fourth highest concentration of crucial science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) employees, making up 9% of the workforce in 2018. All of this in a right-to-work state with a minimal union presence — something companies prize.
The news comes in the wake of Virginia’s 2019 election contest as all 140 seats of the legislature are up for grabs. With Republicans holding a three-seat majority in the State Senate and a narrow one-seat majority in the House of Delegates, the question as to whether Virginia Democrats — who have promoted bills that legalize abortion up to birth and gun confiscation — have overplayed their hand remains an open one.
At the moment, Virginia Republicans seem to be finding new energy. With Trump’s approval ratings higher now that at any time during his presidency, a roaring economy, inflation in check and American prestige growing abroad? Confidence in the state of reality vs. the leftist narrative remains broad and firm.
Whether the Republicans will be able to regain any of the 11 House of Delegates seats forfeited in 2017 remains to be seen, but cause for optimism is high, not only in Northern Virginia but in suburban districts in Hampton Roads, where Democratic messaging and the “rush to the extremes” in the presidential contests is playing to a radical fringe base rather than the concerns of working class Virginians.
More importantly, the tremendous loss in stature and economic strength during the McAuliffe era — where growth was sometimes as low as 0.0% under Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe and budget turmoil was the norm — seems to finally be on the mend. As the Northam administration continues to be hobbled by scandal, the political capital to override or interfere with the smooth operation of government by the Republican-led General Assembly seems to be non-existent, thus turning sighs of relief from Virginia businesses into cheers of confidence.