Chamber Addresses Virginia’s Lackluster Economy

By John Patterson

Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce leaders put the focus on the statewide economy yesterday, and the bigger picture isn’t a pretty as Loudoun’s.

The event, titled “Putting Virginia’s Economy Back on Top,” addressed the state being a shadow of its pre-recession self, when it was often ranked the best state to do business. Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, John Wynne, chairman of Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board (GO Virginia) and James Dyke Jr., another member of GO Virginia, all spoke.

DuVal presented the commonwealth’s new reality. According to the chamber’s figures, Virginia’s average long-term growth of gross state product, a state-level equivalent of GDP, was 14.8 percent, below the national average of 19.7 percent for 2016’s fourth quarter. Virginia also lagged in employment.

“We don’t have the jobs, people are not getting paid enough, they’re not paying the income taxes, therefore, we have a shortfall [in GSP],” Wynne said.

Their solution? Civic participation.

“It takes a lot to make a state great. … It requires that we have pro-business elected officials,” DuVal said, “We as the business community, we can advocate, but we don’t pass bills, right?”

Virginia’s main policy efforts for economic resurgence is the chamber’s Blueprint 2025 plan, and the GO Virginia fund.

“If GO Virginia is going to succeed, if the Blueprint is going to succeed, you as members of the business community need to be strong advocates, you need to rock the boat,” Dyke said.

John Patterson is an intern with Loudoun Now. He is studying English and economics at the University of Virginia

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