As a result of appropriating more dollars to education, other areas of the budget were cut - economic development was impacted by the scaling back. Amendments from the House and Senate cut spending in economic development including $60 million for biotechnology spinoff companies and opted to not include the reduction in corporate income tax rates. However, not all economic development dollars were impacted:
- GO Virginia regional incentive grant program was appropriated $32.9 million by the House and $38.8 million by the Senate.
- $100 million for investments in commercially viable research initiatives
Another issue to be resolved by the conferees concerns the Airbnb legislation (
). The Senate adopted a
requiring that any legislation passed this session relating to the collection of taxes and the preemption of local authority regarding limited residential lodging cannot become effective until it is reenacted by the 2017 Session and a study is completed. The Chamber supported further vetting of the Airbnb legislation. Specifically, we are concerned the legislation provides special treatment not available to other lodging enterprises.
The Roanoke Regional Chamber is also focused on budget items important to our region's economic vitality.
We have been advocating for the continued investment in the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (VTC). Below is the letter we sent to our local delegation and budget conferees:
The Roanoke Regional Chamber strongly supports continued investment in the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (VTC). The next phase of this integrated research network will be a bioscience addition -- the "Roanoke Health Sciences and Technology Innovation District (HST-ID)". Dr. Michael Friedlander, Executive Director of VTC, and his team of researchers have put our region on the map as one of the best brain research institutes in the world. Building on this success, Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic have committed $21 million in funding for HST-ID and are requesting $46.7 million from the state to support the construction of bioscience additions. Previous investments in VTC have yielded these successes:
- The VTC School of Medicine will graduate the third class of physicians in May 2016
- VTC Research Institute has quickly become acknowledged as a world-class research center
- Created over 300 jobs and generated $400 million in economic impact to our region
The successes of VTC have researchers across the nation wanting to come to Virginia to take part in this network. However, these scientist and researchers are on standby until the construction of HST-ID at VTC.
I am writing to you today with the strongest possible encouragement to make sure that this project is included at the full requested amount ($46.7 million) in the final budget passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor. Funding this project will ensure we retain the return on investments achieved to date with VTC and continue to build on that success to make our region and State stronger and more competitive in the future.
for support of the GO Virginia Initiative and results-oriented economic development policies that encourage regional cooperation.