By Aila Boyd
SALEM – Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin stopped by Carter Machinery’s newly opened Machine Rebuild Center in Salem on Thursday, Jan. 5, to discuss a range of issues, including legislative priorities he has for the upcoming session of the Virginia General Assembly.
The focus of Youngkin’s remarks was the slogan “compete to win.” The slogan was used to highlight his desire to lower taxes and increase Virginia’s competitive edge regarding new business recruitment.
He said that Virginia’s ability to “compete to win” starts with both corporate and individual taxes. He pointed to North Carolina’s competitiveness because of its lowering of taxes. He added that the lowering of taxes sends a signal that “it’s only going to get better, not worse.”
A step towards lowering taxes Youngkin pointed to was “$4 billion in tax cuts.”
“It is time to compete to win,” the governor said. “We’ve got to jam down that accelerator, get our foot off the brake and get going. The states to the south of us are competing every day, every day to win Virginians to move there, to win business decisions to locate there. I’ll tell you, Virginia was built to win. We are going to compete to win—that is what our future looks like,” Youngkin said. “We need to win…that means tackling two of our biggest and most fundamental and intertwined problems: winning people and winning jobs.”
A factor that contributes to competitiveness that Youngkin stressed is the need for shovel-ready sites for businesses that are considering locating in the commonwealth.
“To support the recruitment and expansion of high-growth industries, the commonwealth requires massive investments to create shovel-ready sites,” he said.
The lack of shovel-ready “mega sites,” he said, has cost the commonwealth more than 55,000 jobs since 2016.
“Last year, we made incredible progress. We’re going to build on it by taking Virginia to the next level,” he said.
Del. Joe McNamara spoke prior to Youngkin’s address. He touted some recent legislative initiatives.
“The grocery tax was eliminated as the result of Gov. Glenn Youngkin and the Republicans in the General Assembly,” he said. “Gov. Youngkin, the Republicans also nearly doubled your standard deduction.”
McNamara also brought up the start of the new session of the General Assembly. “We have a lot of work ahead of us,” he said.
John Batzel, president of Carter Machinery, also delivered remarks prior to Youngkin’s speech.
“Carter continues to grow,” he said.
He talked about the company’s growth, including the addition of more than 400 team members to the company’s ranks. A significant number of the technicians who were hired were apprentice technicians, many of whom were in attendance Thursday.
“On behalf of Carter Machinery’s 2,500-plus team members, it was truly our honor to host the governor, his staff, local and regional political and business leaders, as well as family and friends,” Batzel said. “Carter Machinery certainly understands the importance of a skilled, well-trained, committed workforce because our people are the key to the company’s success, and more importantly, to our customers’ success. We thank the governor for sharing his time, his plans, and his excitement today for growing business and jobs in Virginia.”