The Right Note is a weekly opinion column published on Thursdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
The United States continues to battle Japan for the dubious distinction of having the highest corporate tax rate in the world. It is not a place in the world rankings we should aspire to hold if we want to remain the global economic leader for generations to come. While our unemployment rate is inching down, too many Americans have simply given up looking for work. So, it is incumbent upon elected officials to create a pro-growth environment at every level of government.
This week Virginia gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli outlined his Economic Growth & Virginia Jobs Plan. It touches on a number of items, but I wanted to highlight three:
First, the plan calls for capping state government spending growth at no more than the rate of population plus inflation. This is a common sense measure that would give legislators in Richmond a reasonable budget to work with every two years. Hopefully, the idea would be given the force and effect of law rather than simply be stated as a goal.
Second, the plan would reduce the corporate income tax rate to 4 percent, which would make Virginia’s rate one of the most attractive in the country. Certainly, one of the ways, other than savings from a cap in spending growth, to accommodate the tax rate reduction is by heeding Cuccinelli’s call to curtail special interest tax breaks. Leveling the playing field for all businesses in Virginia makes sense.
Third, the plan would create a Small Business Tax Relief Commission. One of the goals of this commission is to reduce or eliminate the BPOL tax. As noted last week, BPOL is a tax on gross receipts, not income. This tax particularly hurts businesses with the slimmest profit margins.
Making jobs and the economy his first specific policy rollout sends a strong signal about the highest priority of the Cuccinelli campaign. For comparison, Terry McAuliffe’s website does feature an issue section with a page on jobs or the economy. His sole economic growth policy position is that we should invest in the creation of “green jobs”, which probably means taxpayer funded special interest incentives. McAuliffe has maintained this priority even after a string of negative reports on his GreenTech Automotive venture. Based on GreenTech, and failed companies like Solyndra, Virginians should be wary of any government attempts to pick winners and losers.
Competition for businesses, and the jobs they bring, will continue between states. We should expect our next governor to have a plan to make Virginia number one in private sector job creation.
Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.
Arlington House Rededicated — Arlington House, the family home of Robert E. Lee and an iconic symbol of Arlington County, has been rededicated by the National Park Service following a six year restoration effort. The ceremony was held on Saturday, on the 152nd anniversary of Lee’s decision to lead the rebellion in the Civil War. [Sun Gazette]
County’s Bond Ratings Reaffirmed — Arlington County has had its top Aaa/AAA debt ratings reaffirmed by rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. The ratings will allow Arlington to borrow money at a lower interest rate. “The Aaa rating reflects the county’s strong long-term credit characteristics including a sizeable and affluent tax base, stable and carefully-managed financial operations with sound reserves, and moderate debt position with manageable future borrowing needs,” Moody’s wrote of Arlington. [Arlington County]
Garvey: Streetcars Fail Cost/Benefit Analysis — In an op-ed in the Washington Post, County Board member Libby Garvey says streetcars on Columbia Pike “are not a good investment for anyone.” Streetcars would not solve transportation challenges on the Pike, and would instead “siphon resources away from other important needs,” Garvey wrote. [Washington Post]
Arlington to Help Train Vets in IT — Arlington County has accepted a $150,000 state grant that will help train military veterans for high-demand Information Technology (IT) jobs. The grant will go to a joint Arlington/Alexandria job training program, which is expected to serve more than 50 veterans over an 18-month period. [Arlington County]
Democratic Northern Virginia legislators joined gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe in spending part of the afternoon praising the state’s newly passed transportation bill and Republican Governor Bob McDonnell’s role in pushing it through.
State Sen. Dick Saslaw, Sen. Janet Howell and Del. Alfonso Lopez joined McAuliffe in discussing the bipartisanship and compromises needed for passing the legislation. Howell noted that nobody fully backed the bill but legislators had to put aside their difference to reach a compromise on the state’s first transportation funding plan in nearly three decades.
“We had very different views on what the ultimate solution should be. We had philosophical differences, we had regional differences, we had partisan differences. But we agreed on one crucial matter — doing nothing was no longer an option,” said Howell. “We’ve all disagreed with Governor McDonnell on certain issues, but this was a time when we came together. Like every compromise, no one got exactly what he or she wanted. In fact, there are parts of it that make me want to gag. But we made progress for Virginia.”
The press conference took place near the Washington Blvd bridge over Columbia Pike; speakers took turns referencing the bridge and how the new bill would fund similar infrastructure projects.
“We have needed this in South Arlington for literally decades. Because of the compromise that we were able to hash out in the General Assembly, there will be projects like this happening all across the Commonwealth,” Lopez said. “Literally, there have been pieces falling out of that bridge for decades and now we’re getting it fixed.”
Although he wasn’t directly a part of passing the legislation himself, McAuliffe said he spent hours on the phone with members of both parties, pushing them to find a compromise. The former Democratic National Committee chairman commended all legislators involved while alluding to more projects on failing infrastructure should he win the governor’s seat.
“We finally have some money to do what we need to do to keep the citizens safe,” said McAuliffe. “This was a bipartisan effort to deal with transportation. We are able to stand here today, where inaction has been happening for 27 years, and say something was done.”
McAuliffe did take time to blast Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is expected to be his Republican rival for governor. He bashed Cuccinelli, as did the other officials in attendance, for acting as a roadblock to the transportation bill. He then turned his focus to another of his campaign issues — job creation.
“We need to be making sure that if we’re going to get cuts here, your next governor is focused on diversifying this economy, bringing in 21st century jobs. And you can only do that by a great transportation system, a great education system, workforce training,” said McAuliffe. “I can work with anybody, any time of the day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anybody, anytime if you’re going to help me create jobs for the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
One of the issues in the transportation bill that has been controversial in Northern Virginia is the $100 annual tax for hybrid vehicle owners. Saslaw told ARLnow.com that he could potentially argue for either side of that issue, but it might be better for the governor in the long run if he performs a line item veto on that particular measure.
“The governor probably would be better off lining it out. You could say the squeeze ain’t worth the juice having it in there. It’s an awful lot of aggravation for $18 million out of an $800 million dollar thing,” Saslaw said. “It only takes a minute to look at it, I don’t know if he’ll do anything. And if he starts mucking with it too much, it’s going to start to get rejected.”
Saslaw said the issue will likely create more trouble than it’s worth because the number of hybrid drivers in the state is so small — only a little more than 1 percent of the total vehicle owners. He believes it might have made more sense to find another revenue boost, such as raising vehicle registration fees or imposing a tax based on a vehicle’s gas usage per gallon, not simply the fact that it’s hybrid. In the end, he reiterated that the bill was imperfect, but it needed to pass.
“I voted for the compromise, as did everyone else, because when that thing comes out of conference you either vote for it or you don’t vote for it,” said Saslaw. “As Senator Howell pointed out, [it] is not the ideal situation. In fact, when it becomes law, it’s going to have to be tweaked.”
The cuts are being made to help plug a $25-50 million budget gap for the upcoming fiscal year. Donnellan will outline her proposed FY 2014 budget to members of the media on Wednesday afternoon. The budget is expected to include a mix of cuts and tax hikes.
On Friday, in a memo to county employees (below) obtained by ARLnow.com, Donnellan announced that the county is cutting 46 staff positions, including 20 that are currently filled. She also said that the county has instituted a hiring slowdown and that 20 employees have taken an early retirement package.
The county is working to place the 20 employees whose positions were cut in other open positions within county government, Donnellan said.
To: All County Employees
Re: Balancing the FY 2014 Budget
Date: February 15, 2013
I’m sure you are aware that we are grappling with a $25 million gap for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 budget.
As a County we have taken many steps to help close that gap, and I am proud of the way departments have embraced this challenge. To close the gap, we will need to use a combination of tax rate increases and spending cuts.
As a part of the spending cuts, we instituted a hiring slow down a few months ago, which limits the pace at which departments may fill openings. Another piece of the strategy was to offer an Early Retirement Window for eligible employees, and 20 employees participated in that program.
After much thoughtful discussion, we have made the difficult decision to cut 46 County staff positions. Unfortunately, of these, 20 are currently filled, and we are working to move these employees into other open positions. The department directors and I do not take this decision lightly; these are among the toughest decisions that we have to make. We are making every attempt to place those employees into other positions within the County. If we are, for some reason, unable to match an employee with an open position, the employee will receive a severance package.
These are difficult fiscal times. We are aware that over the last few years, we have asked you to do more with less – taking up more work when a colleague retires and isn’t replaced; addressing new and increasing service demands due to our growing population; performing administrative work in addition to normal job duties.
We are successful only because of the strength of our staff, and I am grateful for your continued dedication and service to our community.
Barbara M. Donnellan
The Right Note is a weekly opinion column by published on Thursdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
Terry McAuliffe, the Democrats’ nominee for governor, is trying to explain away his decision to locate a GreenTech Automotive plant, and the 1,500 manufacturing jobs that go with it, in Mississippi instead of Virginia.
McAuliffe initially tried to blame the GreenTech plant location decision on a lack of support from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. After examining the email trail on the matter, PolitiFact rated McAuliffe’s claim as “false,” and the AP seems to agree. It appears that McAuliffe’s company never really tried that hard to put the plant here in Virginia.
While we cannot blame a company for locating its facilities in a state that makes the most sense for its bottom line, it is certainly fair game to ask why McAuliffe, and his well known gubernatorial ambitions, did not locate the plant and jobs here. McAuliffe has maintained an active political presence pointed to the 2013 campaign in Virginia since losing to Creigh Deeds in the 2009 Democratic primary.
Every governor wants, or should want, to create an environment where businesses develop and grow. Governor McDonnell has made it a point of emphasis for Virginia to rank high on the list of “best states to do business” each year. Both McAuliffe and the Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli will likely make the economy a top issue in their campaigns.
GreenTech was the perfect business for McAuliffe to point to for his economic bonafides in a run for governor of Virginia. It appeals to Northern Virginia concerns about transportation and the environment. And, he could have certainly found a suitable location in Virginia with a manufacturing labor force ready to go.
So, it is hard to understand why he would not attempt to move heaven and earth to locate the GreenTech plant here in Virginia rather than outsourcing to Mississippi.
McAuliffe’s bigger problem with voters may not even be that he made a controversial business decision, but that he felt compelled to try and rewrite history about the decision. By attempting to spin his way out of the problem, he actually made the problem worse. Now, McAuliffe can probably look forward to hearing “he created hundreds of jobs in Mississippi instead of Virginia then lied about it” all the way through election day in November.
Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.
The job description and requirements are as follows.
Never walk alone. Physical fitness with a furry twist, our part time dog walking positions are the right balance of time/energy for students, retirees, entrepreneurs and stay at home moms. Our employees love PETS and PEOPLE alike, and eagerly deliver a regular routine of high quality care & interaction with a consistent roster of clients in a tight geographic area within ARLINGTON, VA.
- COMPENSATION: Paid on a generous per visit basis averaging between $14 and $17 per hour, 100% tips & expenses, cancellation, holiday and overtime pay.
- HOURS: Monday – Friday 10AM – 4PM
- TRAINING: This is a professional position that starts immediately after successful completion of required FREE & PAID field and classroom training, including PetTech® CPR, First Aid Certification and Safety Furst™ Urban WalkPro™ dog walking safety training as well as a foundation in canine behavior and body language.
- SELF-MOTIVATED ANIMAL LOVER
- LONG TERM commitment at a minimum of six months is required.
- Joining a supportive TEAM, where you never stop learning about pets and their behavior, nutrition, enrichment, safety and care.
- Your permanent home address is within TEN miles of our service area in Arlington County.
- You authorize permission to run a full criminal BACKGROUND CHECK.
- You possess a reliable insured AUTO and valid driver’s license.
- You possess a reliable SMARTPHONE you are willing to use for work.
Interested applicants should email a cover letter “explaining why you feel you would be a great addition to the Loyalty Team” to firstname.lastname@example.org, AND complete the online application at http://www.loyaltypet.com/apply.
School Enrollment Surging – Enrollment in Arlington Public Schools is now projected to increase from 22,657 pre-K to 12th grade students today to 30,777 students by the 2023-24 school year. The projections suggest that enrollment will near 27,000 by the 2017-18 school year, breaking the previous record for APS enrollment. [Sun Gazette]
Ukrainian Mayor Presents Library With Sculpture – Viktor Anushkevychus, the mayor of Ivano-Frankivsk, Arlington’s sister city in Ukraine, presented Arlington Central Library with a metal sculpture of a tree yesterday. [Arlington Public Library]
Libby Garvey Looking for New Assistant — Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey is seeking a new aide in the County Board office, after her previous aide left for a new position in the county. “If you know of anyone who might be interested in the position, please encourage them to check out the announcement and apply,” she said in a recent email to supporters. The full-time job pays between $39,062 and $63,523, plus benefits. [Arlington County]
Model Bootcamp Coming to Pentagon City — A “bootcamp” for wanna-be models is coming to the Pentagon City mall on Saturday. From 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 pm, the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City will host a promotional event for “The Face,” a new modeling competition show on the Oxygen network. Participants will be put through a “casting session” that will include a short photo shoot; in the end, they’ll be emailed an animated GIF of photos from the shoot. [Oxygen]
Looking for a job? Know someone who is? ARLnow.com periodically highlights job openings in the area. If you’re an employer with a position to fill, contact email@example.com.
NEW Northern Italian Cuisine restaurant seeks inspired, high quality team-members that are professional & committed to delivering SUPERIOR customer service.
Our ideal candidate will have at least 1 year of experience.
Hard-working, motivated, & energetic apply within:
900 N. Glebe Road
No More Checks for State Tax Refunds — Starting this year, Virginia is no longer sending checks for state tax refunds. Instead, the Commonwealth will only issue refunds by direct deposit or by prepaid debit card. The debit cards are issued by a vendor at no cost to the state; the change is expected to save taxpayers about $200,000 in printing and mailing costs. [Virginia Dept. of Taxation]
Jobs, Wages Decline in Arlington — While wages in Arlington remain high, average wages and the number of jobs in Arlington both declined in the second quarter of 2012, according to new federal data. The decline is worrying some local real estate developers. [Sun Gazette]
Ovechkin Collides With Teammate at Kettler — At a practice yesterday morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston, Capitals star winger Alex Ovechkin and center Marcus Johansson collided at mid-ice. The collision sent both players to the ground, but they’re both said to be “okay.” [CSN Washington, Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
Looking for a job? Know someone who is? ARLnow.com periodically highlights job openings in the area. If you’re an employer with a position to fill, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help get your listing out in front of our talented, well-educated readership.
It’s been a rough few years for real estate professionals. But DC has the #1 rental market in the country, and Urban Igloo is at its forefront. That’s why we’re hiring a full-time Northern Virginia leasing agent to join our team who are passionate about helping renters find the perfect apartment.
What You Do
As a full-time matchmaker for DC-area renters and landlords, you will:
- Search our web-based property database and find the best matches
- Meet with qualified renters and landlords in one of our offices
- Coordinate with DC-area renters and landlords to set up appointments
- Take photos and videos of new listings and help present them effectively on our website
- Oversee the background check and lease signing process
- Generate additional landlord and renter leads to maximize your business.
What You Get
- Potential of $50,000+ per year
- Qualified renter leads to help you grow your real estate business
- Intensive one-on-one training with our professional real estate veterans
- Tools and resources to close your first deal within one month (including license reimbursement)
- Administrative support for renter screening, scheduling, applications, and lease process
- A gateway to a successful career in commercial or residential real estate
- Experience with new media and customer relationship management
- A fun bunch of co-workers in a fast-growing, entrepreneurial company
What You Need
- You have a background in retail, sales, leasing, or real estate
- You own a safe, clean vehicle and enjoy driving
- You know the Arlington, Alexandria, Tysons Corner and Reston areas
- You are comfortable working weekends and getting paid on a commission basis
- You are hardworking, outgoing, friendly, and professional
Apply for this position at http://www.urbanigloo.com/about/jobs/dc_rental_agent.php
Looking for a job? Know someone who is? Starting today, ARLnow.com will periodically be highlighting job openings in the area. If you’re an employer with a position to fill, contact email@example.com to find out how we can help get your listing out in front of our talented, well-educated readership.
Key Areas of Responsibility:
- 50% – public relations planning and execution; 30% – government relations analysis, advocacy and response, 20% new business development
- Public relations focus — energy, education, and healthcare industries
- Develop and execute strategic communications plans, including media and community outreach, incorporating ability for two-way dialogue with key audiences – research, prepare and distribute news releases, Op-Eds, and messages via new media, conduct follow up with wide variety of stakeholders, including the media
- Track news and conversations related to clients and industries; assist with communications development and outreach with and on behalf of clients
- Government relations focus — energy, environmental technologies, and high tech industries
- Monitor legislation and regulatory issues facing clients; review, analyze and prepare written comments/testimony for legislative/regulatory proceedings; cultivate business relationships with policymakers at state government level
- Business development focus – existing and new industries
- Use existing professional network to identify potential leads, develop proposals for new business, and successfully conclude agreements with new clients
- Identify opportunities for business in related industries to existing client base, or new industries that have a need for SCLLC services and products
- Meet annual goals for new business development, scaled to business network size, experience, and expertise
- Provide integral client support and strategy assistance
Last week, an opinion piece in Bloomberg View theorized that the Washington area is boring and un-hip “because it’s full of people who work for and around the government.”
Undoubtedly, there are lots of people in the area, and in Arlington in particular, who work for or around the government. And employment estimates bear that out. But does that really tell the full story?
Putting aside whether we’re collectively boring, let’s find out just how many of us are directly connected to the government.
The restaurant is opening in the former Market Tavern space at 2800 Clarendon Blvd. Interior construction is still underway, but the restaurant started accepting applications from job candidates this week. Job applications — for server, bartender, cooks and other positions — will be accepted through Sept. 7, according to the Market Common shopping center website.
Like Market Tavern (formerly Harry’s Tap Room), Fuego will have two levels: a tequila bar featuring more than 120 tequilas on the first level, and a restaurant serving Mexican small plates and entrees on the second level.
“Fuego [Cocina] y Tequileria will be a temple of traditional Mexican cuisine serving in-your-face-food with authentic, robust, not-for-the-faint-of-heart flavors and textures,” according to the restaurant’s new website. Once it opens this fall, Fuego will serve dinner seven nights a week and will also be open for weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
Fuego is owned by the Passion Food Restaurant Group, which also owns DC Coast, Acadiana, Ceiba, District Commons and Burger Tap and Shake in the District, and Passionfish in Reston. The new restaurant will be helmed by Chef Alfredo Solis, who has been the chef at District Commons and Burger Tap and Shake.
If you’ve ever wanted to become an Arlington firefighter or EMT, now’s your chance.
Arlington County is beginning a new round of firefighter/EMT recruitment starting today, May 11. According to a fire department recruitment web page, the process will remain open through Tuesday May 22, 2012.
The application process for becoming an Arlington firefighter is a bit daunting, however. The following are the steps one must go through in order to be offered the job, according to the fire department website:
- Submission of online application
- Application screening
- Communication of eligibility via letter and/or email
- Written examination
- CPAT Practice Sessions
- Submission of Background Package
- CPAT Official Test
Fingerprinting & Ongoing Background Investigation
- Panel Interview with Fire Department Personnel
- Conditional Offer of Employment
- Polygraph Examination
- Psychological and Physical Examinations
- Uniform Fitting
- Interview with the Fire Chief
- Final Offer of Employment
According to a leading jobs website for those with security clearances, the average security-cleared employee in the Washington region earned $97,838 in 2011.
ClearanceJobs.com says that figure represents a 4 percent increase from one year ago. By comparison, the national average security-cleared salary was $76,152 in 2011. According to the website’s survey, there was no pay gap between men and women working in the same position.
Though average salaries may be high, security-cleared workers are increasingly worried about the future. The survey — of 11,000 security-cleared professionals — indicated that 43 percent were afraid of the loss of contract funding, 40 percent were afraid of increased work loads as a result of staff cuts, 38 percent were afraid of their position being eliminated, and 31 percent worried about their position being relocated, perhaps as a result of BRAC.