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New Bills Make Northern Virginia 'More Attractive' to Tech Companies

McDonnell inks legislation that will expand tax credits, extend telework bill.

With six strokes of a pen, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed legislation Tuesday its sponsors say will make Virginia more competitive in creating and retaining high-tech jobs.

Before a crowded room inside the newly opened Falls Church headquarters for Acentia, McDonnell (R) signed the Data Center Sales Tax Exemption (House Bill 216 and Senate Bill 112) and the Extending Virginia Telework Tax Credit bill (HB 551 and SB 238). Del. Barbara Comstock (R-34th District) introduced the bill, and Del. Mark Keam (D-35th District) signed on as a chief co-patron.

The bills expand the sales and use tax exemption for computer equipment or software by data centers by extending it to tenants of the centers and jobs created by them and extends the telework expenses tax credit for employers through the end of 2016; the current credit expires on Dec. 31, 2013. 

The governor also signed bills (HB 1013 and SB 226), also backed by Comstock, which extends the Virginia capital gains exemption for investors in technology startups from June 2013 to June 2015.

Comstock grew ecstatic Tuesday as she talked to the crowd about how the bills could help persuade more businesses to relocate to Northern Virginia, saying the opportunity for growth in the area that could be driven by bringing more companies and jobs to the area.

"Virginia is number one for businesses because that's our focus," she said, adding she wants to do everything in her power to keep technology companies in Northern Virginia.

McDonnell said Northern Virginia is recognized around the country and world as a hub for growth in the technology field. With several technology and government contract companies relocating to Northern Virginia, McDonnell said the area has become a hotbed for data centers.

"I am very lucky to be in Virginia than anywhere else," Keam said Tuesday, noting that technology development creates ripples of jobs. "This is an industry that is very strong."

McDonnell said Forbes rated the Northern Virginia/Washington, D.C. area second overall for job growth in the technology field only behind Washington state. The desire to bring more technology jobs to the area has propelled bipartisan cooperation.

"We have more tech workers in Virginia that anywhere else other that California," McDonnell said.

This article has been corrected to list Del. Barbara Comstock (R-34th District) as the sponsor of House Bills 216, 551 and 1013.

John Weis May 30, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Perhaps if the good Governor would help people by not raising the e-z pass cost, not increasing the tolls on the Dulles Toll Road, or ensuring Virginia fulfills its original commitment to fund Metro to the airport before it reduces taxes for corporations. Aren't people first?
Bruno Walker May 30, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Would someone explain to me how this is not (corporate) welfare?
Louise Epstein May 31, 2012 at 12:52 PM
For more details about these bills, which were supported by our local Northern Virginia Technology Council, see http://tinyurl.com/6onk96u
Jim Daniels May 31, 2012 at 04:21 PM
It is corporate welfare...but that doesn't necessarily make it a bad thing. Welfare is neither good nor bad in and of itself. How it is applied, who it is given too, why it is given, and what the results of it are, determine whether it is worth it or not. In this case, from what I know and read, this is an entirely appropriate investment in an improved economy. Unemployment insurance, food stamps, some housing subsidies are all examples of "welfare," that if administered properly can have a net positive effect. Sending billions of dollars to big oil companies when they are raking in record profits; "welfare" that is provided only because these companies have enough money to legally bribe members of Congress...is an example of the opposite.

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