A second more nuanced victory for Virginia
August 21, 2021
In July, Virginia retained its place as the top state for CNBC companies, becoming the first state to earn the honor twice in a row and five times in all. And yet the Commonwealth feels a long way from July 2019, the last time the Cable Business Information Network released its rankings.
Two years ago, Northern Virginia economic development officials and Governor Ralph Northam were on a victory lap after landing at Amazon.com Inc.’s East Coast headquarters in Arlington in late 2018, a multi-billion dollar project that is expected to create more than 25,000 jobs. .
This time, the reasons for this honor are more nuanced. CNBC has weighted its rankings according to the cost of doing business, also considering inclusion and public health measures, recognizing the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 national protests focused on racial justice.
Northam, who had his own racial calculation in February 2019 after a black-faced photo was revealed on the pages of his medical school yearbook, focused the rest of his tenure on increasing diversity, l equity and inclusion – legalizing marijuana, raising the state’s minimum wage and overhauling the state procurement process to ensure that women-owned and minority-owned businesses have a level playing field to bid and win public contracts.
“Our success is a model for creating a vibrant economic climate in the post-pandemic world – and proves that when you uplift everyone, when you treat people right and when you celebrate diversity, it’s good for business too. “Northam said in a statement on the CNBC rankings.
There are lingering concerns among CEOs, Chambers, business owners and others about the fate of Virginia’s Right to Work Act, which is still in place but less secure under Democratic control of the General Assembly. and the executive mansion. But for now, Virginia is still considered the top business in the country, with a highly skilled workforce and initiatives in place to train future employees for high-tech and renewable energy jobs, including for the state’s burgeoning wind industry.
Four casinos are also on the way, which were approved last November by voters in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth and are expected to be completed by 2023. The gaming complexes are expected to generate more than $ 1 billion in annual revenue. totals and could be joined by the ONE Casino + Resort in Richmond, which is the subject of a local referendum in November. If passed, it would be the only black-owned casino in the country.