From Your Prince William Chamber 

March 2016

Chamber Advocate,

 The General Assembly is finishing their work in Richmond, local governments are hard at work compiling their respective budgets, and the Bi-County Parkway is back. There is a lot to catch up on this month!   

If you have any questions about legislation or are just generally interested in what we are working on at the Chamber, please get in touch with me by sending an email to I am always happy to discuss!   

Legislative Update
State legislature set to adjourn 'sine die' Saturday, March 12 

It has been a busy legislative session this year but the General Assembly is set to adjourn on time tomorrow. Over the past few weeks,  state  representatives have been working hard to complete work on remaining bills and to finalize the biennial budget. 

Check out what your Chamber has been working on below! 

For more information, attend our Policy Committee meeting next Tuesday, March 15 at 9:30am.

Don't forget to attend our annual Legislative Wrap-up on Tuesday, May 10! 

Research and development initiatives for major innovators. 

These bills s eek to establish a Research & Development tax credit for major innovators while also making strategic enhancements to the existing Research & Development tax credit first established in 2011 for small, innovative businesses.
  • Current credit is expanded by $1 million 
  • New $20 million credit created
  • Increases the amount of R&D investment companies can expense encouraging innovation
  • Offers incentives for companies that partner with Virginia universities
Both pieces of legislation passed the House and Senate. The Governor signed the legislation in to law on March 7.  The new research and development initiatives for major innovators will be effective on July 1, 2016. 

Enhancing Virginia's research and development (R&D) tax credit supports Virginia businesses currently conducting qualified R&D work and gives the Commonwealth a competitive edge as it continues to develop an innovative economy.   

Extension of sunset date for sales and use tax exemption for certain data centers.

This legislation extends the sales and use tax exemption for certain data centers to 2035.  This is one of the fastest growing industries in the Commonwealth.  In 2014, the data center industry was responsible for supporting approximately 928 jobs, $54.6 million in wages, and $181.9 million in economic output in Prince William County. 
  • Exempts computer equipment or enabling software purchased or leased for the processing, storage, retrieval, or communication of data
  • Qualifications to utilize the tax exemption include:
    • Computer equipment or enabling software must be purchased or leased for use in a data center that is located in a Virginia locality
    • Project results in a new capital investment of at least $150 million
    • Results in the creation of at least 50 new jobs 
    • Jobs created by the data center pay at least one and one-half times the prevailing average wage in that locality
Each bill has passed both the House and the Senate.  The legislation is currently awaiting final action from the Governor.  

Data centers are an important part of Northern Virginia's economy. According to the Northern Virginia Technology Council, the industry is the largest revenue generator for Virginia localities. Prince William County sees a $4.30 return for each dollar it invests.  

By extending the sales and use tax exemption for qualified data centers, the Commonwealth is positioning itself to retain and expand the largest data center market in the nation.  

GO Virginia 

This initiative seeks to create state financial incentives, technical support, and other assistance that will encourage collaboration on private-sector growth and job creation by business, education, and government in each region. 

The Virginia Growth and Opportunity Act has passed both the House and the Senate. The legislation is currently awaiting final action from the Governor. 

The Virginia Collaborative Economic Development Act is currently being negotiated in conference by appointees from both the House and Senate.  

Cash Proffer Reform.

These bills change the current vague limitations on residential rezoning conditions (proffers) from those "roughly proportional" and "bears a reasonable relation" to impacts of new residential development to a new standard that would be "specifically" attributable to a residential rezoning. This legislation also prohibits localities from requesting "unreasonable" residential proffers allowing homebuilders to continue to provide housing opportunities for all residents, while ensuring that local infrastructure needs directly resulting from new residential rezoning are met. While certain off-site proffer conditions would be  disallowed, localities could still request proffers for impacts on schools, transportation, public safety facilities, and parks.  

Legislation reforming Virginia's cash proffer system passed both the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor on March 8.   

Budget Highlights

- Invests $900 million in K-12 education
- 2% pay raise for teachers
- Includes $35 million for GO Virginia
- Establishes statewide tolling policy
- Includes $50 million in operating support for Dulles International Airport 
- Deposits $606 million in to Virginia's rainy day fund

Bi-County Parkway
Prince William Board of County Supervisors to reconsider comprehensive plan 

On Wednesday, February 17, the Prince William County Planning Commission unanimously voted to remove the Bi-County Parkway from the County's comprehensive plan - an action the Virginia Department of Transportation called "inconsistent with good comprehensive planning practice". 

This coming Tuesday, March 15, the Board of County Supervisors will take this item up for consideration.  As you know, the Bi-County Parkway would create much needed connectivity between two of the fastest growing localities in the Commonwealth mitigating congestion on some of our region's most traveled roadways. 

At a minimum the County should not make any changes until a full thoroughfare plan is prepared so a complete evaluation of the County's future land use plans and the transportation network needed to support those plans is conducted.

Your input is needed to tell the Board of County Supervisors to support staff's recommendation not to remove the road. Contact the Board prior to the meeting on Tuesday, March 15 by sending an email to 

Here is the information for anyone that would like to attend the hearing:

Prince William Board of County Supervisors
March 15, 2016  
Public Hearing:  7:30 P.M.
Prince William County McCoart Administration Building
Board Chambers
1 County Complex Court
Woodbridge, Virginia

For more information on how to be involved, please send an email to

Data Centers Are Vital Cogs In Local Economy

Submitted jointly by: Bobbie Kilberg and Debbie Jones

Every time you use your smartphone, send an email, share a photo or watch streaming video, a data center is behind it. Data centers are the backbone of our 21st Century digital economy, storing and powering the services that are often transparent to consumers like you and me. But data centers are enabling economic growth in ways beyond connecting business and consumers to digital content.

Northern Virginia is home to the largest concentration of private sector data center employment and locations in Virginia, and one of the largest in the U.S. In fact, in October 2015, Jones Lang LaSalle announced that Northern Virginia surpassed the Tri-State New Jersey / New York region as the largest data center market in the U.S., with nearly 20 percent of the market share.

Over the past decade, Prince William County has emerged as a key beneficiary of this growth. The data center industry makes a significant, growing, and demonstrable contribution to Prince William County's economic prosperity, according to a January report released by the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC). The Economic and Fiscal Contribution that Data Centers Make to Prince William County, produced by Richmond-based Mangum Economics, outlines the large economic impact data centers have in our county: in 2014, approximately 928 jobs, $54.6 million in wages, and $181.9 million in economic output can be attributed to the data center industry in Prince William  County. Since 2007, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership has announced an average of $285.6 million in investment from this sector in Prince William County per year, reaching a high of $600 million in 2015.

Data center expansion and investment are a critical element, attracting private sector jobs and generating new state and local revenue. Data centers are a high wage and high growth industry. The sector paid private sector wages in Prince William County in 2014 that were 2.2 times greater than the county norm for all private sector firms. Data centers also represent a strong commercial industry that helps diversify Virginia's economy away from its substantial dependency on federal spending. There is evidence, for example, that Prince William County's data centers helped insulate the county from the "double dip" that the state experienced as a result of the "Great Recession of 2007" and the federal sequester in 2013. 

Additionally, the data center industry grew 2.1 times faster than the norm across all county industries according to the most recent one-year growth rate for private employment in this sector. In fact, the most recent five-year growth rate for private employment in this sector was 11.8 times greater than the norm across all county industries.

Data centers also generate significant tax revenue for Prince William County - more than $11.5 million in 2014. Their capital intensity translates into a disproportionate amount of property tax revenue, by far the largest source of revenue for Virginia localities. For every $1.00 in Prince William County expenditures this sector was responsible for generating in 2014, it provided approximately $4.30 in county tax revenue to help underwrite the cost of schools, public safety and other county priorities. 

As businesses and consumers around the world continue to generate ever increasing amounts of data, countries, states and local jurisdictions will continue to compete to attract new data center investment and jobs, and the economic diversification and positive tax revenue they bring. Prince William County has emerged as a global center for data centers and our local economy continues to benefit. It is important that we recognize our success in this regard and continue efforts to remain an attractive location for these 21st century centers of commerce.
Visit to read the Prince William County report. Visit for the full report.
Bobbie Kilberg is President and CEO of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, a membership and trade association representing about 1,000 companies and organizations in the technology community of Northern Virginia. Learn more at
Debbie Jones is President and CEO of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, a membership organization serving over 1,300 businesses in Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. Learn more at

Congressman Connolly Talks Economic Development

Written by: What's Up Woodbridge
March 9, 2016

Investing in the future of Prince William County.

That was the focus of Congressman Gerry Connolly's talk at an economic development luncheon, hosted by the  Prince William Chamber of Commerce in Woodbridge this week.

According to Connolly, while some would say otherwise, the United States economy - and local economy - are recovering and doing well, following the crash in 2008.

Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-11)

"Where are we economically? If we can put aside the fact that we're in a campaign year...the U.S. economy right now is in a very good place. By any metrics, we ought to feel pretty good - especially when measured by where we [2008] the economy was teetering on the brink. There was not a dime in the country for local governments to float their municipal bonds to be able to finance local projects; roads, bridges, schools, libraries - you name it - stopped 100%," said Connolly.
For Connolly, investing in research and development are essential for Prince William's economy.

"You've gotta invest in research and development. You've gotta be thinking about the investments of the future. Investments and [research and development] have a return on them...they have a huge payoff, and we've got to be making them," said Connolly.

Get Involved
Join Our Next Policy Committee Meeting

The next policy committee meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 15 at 9:30am at the Prince William Chamber of Commerce Headquarters.  The committee typically meets for an hour. 
We will update the group on the final weeks of the legislative session and receive a special budget briefing from Manassas' City Manager, Pat Pate. We are very fortunate to have Mr. Pate at our meeting this month as we continue our conversation regarding local budgets. 

As a reminder, we are continuing to ask that members help to identify areas where we can work together and initiate change on various levels of government. If you are interested in participating please come prepared to address your issue and we will do our best to assist!

I hope you can join us for what is sure to be a productive meeting. 


   Director, Government Relations 


Special thanks to Advocacy Vision Partner