The Right Note: Four Questions About Economic Development Funds

Mark KellyThe Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Economic development funding is used by both parties in most, if not all, states around the country. Many governors feel like they must use these tools to make their states competitive.

It goes without saying that when the government gets involved with paying businesses to locate in a state or community, it runs the risk that the plan will go south. Picking winners and losers is an inherently risky business. Hopefully, the state officials making the funding decisions have analyzed the risk in a way that provides maximum protection to taxpayers.

The recent revelation that the McAuliffe administration failed to vet a Chinese company who received $1.4 million to locate in Appomattox is especially concerning. It turns out that the decision to cut a taxpayer-funded check to the company was based off a review of the company’s website. Only after the deal seemed to be going south did the Commonwealth ask for financial statements from the company, and later demanded our money back.

Making Virginia a competitive economic environment should be our priority. Questions remain as to whether using a taxpayer-backed slush fund is the best way to do it.

1.  Are the standards by which these deals are made in a transparent and objective fashion, or is there too much subjective influence by the people making the decisions? Governors of both parties have made these deals and done the photo ops with the oversized checks, but taxpayers deserve to know their money is going to a legitimate business.

2.  Is what we are doing now really working? When the last set of economic numbers were released, Virginia’s economy had flatlined. Economic growth was 0.0%, and Virginia is slipping with every independent group who ranks these things.

3.  Why should Virginia’s policy be to favor a new business over one who has been here providing jobs, paying taxes and supporting the community? Making sure existing companies are thriving and staying here should be higher on Richmond’s priority list than it seems to be.

4.  So, would it be a better approach to tackle tax and regulatory burdens on all businesses, new and existing, to make Virginia’s economic environment the most competitive in the country? Governor McAuliffe could surely spend a little less time stumping for Hillary Clinton and more time sitting down with Republicans in the legislature to tackle the fundamental tax and regulatory structure businesses face. Arlington surely would benefit as we face of high office vacancy rates. Other communities across the Commonwealth most certainly would as well.

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The Alternative Christmas Market is back! At First Presbyterian Church Arlington in Ballston, located at 601 N. Vermont Street, Arlington VA 22203, on Sunday, December 4th from 9:30am to 1:00pm. Parking available.

Vendors and products this year include: 10,000 Villages, Olive Oil Ministry, African Team Ministries, Community Coalition for Haiti, Heifer, African Market Baskets, Café Justo, Thistle Farms, Southwest Indian Foundation, and Together We Bake.

Buy gifts for everyone on your list, and support these great organizations, artisans, and global neighbors. See you there!

Submit your own Announcement here.

(This Community Post was written by the [Arlington Chorale]( and underwritten by [Embracing Arlington Arts](

Since the Arlington Chorale returned to in-person singing one year ago, local amateur singers have been signing up for auditions in unprecedented numbers. “Thirty of our current members joined within the last year,” says Ingrid Lestrud, Artistic Director. “Many of them have recently moved to Arlington, and they want to join a community. Chorale members get to sing beautiful music and meet a diverse group of people who love singing as much as they do!”

The singers are busy preparing their December 10 concert, Christmas Joy! Featuring John Rutter ‘s Magnificat and Kirke Mechem’s _Seven Joys of Christmas_ , audiences will hear familiar Christmas carols, as well as beautiful music with hints of tango, musical theatre, and jazz. The singers will be accompanied by a chamber orchestra of local professional players, and the concert will highlight the talents of soprano Helena Colindres. Members of the Chorale’s outreach group, the Youth Community Council, and select singers from the Chorale will be singing Christmas carols outside the venue as audience members arrive. After the performance, everyone is invited to join the singers downstairs for a reception with light refreshments. It’s a special community event you won’t want to miss! Tickets are $20 for adults and free for children under 12 available here. Please join the Arlington Chorale on **Saturday, December 10 at 5:00 PM at Westover Baptist Church!**

Submit your own Announcement here.

National Chamber Ensemble – Holiday Cheer!

NCE’s Holiday Concert will bring the finest classical masterpieces and holiday favorites together for the whole family. The festivities begin with Leroy Anderson’s classic “Sleigh Ride” and “Chanukkah Festival”, music from the Nutcracker and by J.S. Bach.

Outstanding Young Artist

Washington-Liberty Annual Holiday Bazaar

Join us Saturday December 3 from 10 to 4 p.m. at W-L High School, for this much anticipated Arlington holiday tradition! We will be featuring over 65 vendors for gift shopping, our student clubs and activities fundraising booths, and food


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