Virginia is in an economic slump. Old Dominion University recently released its State of the Commonwealth Report, showing that Virginia’s economy grew at only 1.4 percent in 2015. This ranks us 33rd in terms of economic growth among the 50 states. It was also the fourth straight year our real economic growth has been below 2 percent.
Reversing this trend should be at the top of the General Assembly’s to-do list in 2017. A massive amount of regulations, mandates and good old-fashioned red tape is holding our economy back.
There are many examples of regulation run amok. Take, for instance, occupational licensing: essentially government-mandated permission slips for dozens of jobs. The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation website lists 45 broad occupation categories for which the state requires licenses.
Reducing red tape in the state can make it easier for businesses and entrepreneurs to start new endeavors and expand existing ones. There’s proof of that in the food truck industry, which was once beset by restrictions prohibiting food trucks from selling on roads owned by the commonwealth. The issue was resolved in 2015 when Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed a bill authorizing food trucks to operate on Virginia-owned streets, so long as they followed local ordinances and obtained permission from the appropriate stakeholders.
Read the full oped by AFP Virginia State Director Tyler Foote in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.