This week, Virginia politicians from both sides of the aisle and many in the media are trumpeting CNBC’s announcement that the Old Dominion is once again the “Best State for Business.”
CNBC’s survey was based on criteria like, economy, infrastructure, quality of life, education, technology business friendliness, etc.
But, according to many politicians – from former Governor Terry McAuliffe and current Governor Ralph Northam – to state Senators and Delegates of both political parties, and a host of special interests, quite frankly it should be impossible for Virginia to be the best state for business.
Well, according to these so-called “progressive” leaders, Virginia isn’t very “open and welcoming.” You see, for the better part of the past decade, the media and political class have claimed that businesses and education leaders and technology gurus and everyone else it seems wouldn’t come to Virginia because the General Assembly hasn’t elevated “sexual orientation and gender identity” to protected classes.
Oh, and those anti-women “anti-abortion” laws are terrible for business, too.
Of course, none of the rhetoric spouted by those claiming that Virginia’s economy suffers because the Commonwealth has chosen to minimally protect unborn children and religious liberty is true. For the most part, low tax and regulation states are at or near the top of the “Best States for Business” list, while those with the most extreme pro-abortion and pro-LGBT laws tend to linger at or near the bottom. Why? Because smart business leaders don’t base economic decisions on anything other than economic facts, not emotional hysteria (even Amazon decided to come to Virginia).
This won’t stop the rhetoric, however, or the bills. There’s little doubt that we’ll see Delegate Kathy Tran’s infamous abortion-at-any-point-through-birth bill again in 2020. We’ll see the dozen or so bills elevating sexual behavior to special status in our laws, threatening religious liberty and making many religious small business owners left feeling rather, well, unwelcome.
But the line will stay the same – if we don’t pass these bills the economy will suffer.
Except it won’t. Virginia’s economy will do just fine as long as taxes are relatively low and the regulatory environment is somewhat less crushing than neighboring states. Businesses go where they can make money – which for most business owners is sort of the point.
By the way, CNBC ranked New York state, which adopted its own version of Delegate Tran’s “welcome to everyone except babies” 27th.