By Garren Shipley -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- Virginia should create a tax holiday for businesses that create new jobs in places with high unemployment, according to a local candidate for the House of Delegates.
"My opponent has done little to bring jobs into the 15th District, but my plan takes bold steps to encourage businesses to join our community and support our local economy," said John Lesinski, the Democratic candidate in the 15th District.
Lesinski said Friday that if elected he would introduce legislation that would establish an income tax holiday for businesses that create such new jobs.
Lesinski hopes to unseat Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock, who is seeking a third two-year term.
The retired U.S. Marine's proposal calls for a one-year income tax holiday for new or existing businesses that add 100 or more permanent, full-time jobs to Virginia's work force in specific areas.
Places where unemployment has been greater than 8 percent for more than half of the previous year would be eligible -- including both Page and Shenandoah counties in the 15th District.
Employers would have to retain the jobs for five years or forfeit the credit.
Enacting the credit could create 1,500 jobs in the district and help fill more than 1.5 million square feet of vacant or underused industrial spaces in the district, according to the candidate.
Tax holidays usually harm the commonwealth's bottom line, but Lesinski said the impact in this case would be minimal, since it would apply to new revenue and decrease the demand on the state's unemployment insurance funds.
"This is a win-win for our community, for businesses and for Virginia," he said. "We need leadership in Richmond that will find creative ways to bring jobs into Virginia. That's what we're lacking now and what I hope to provide."
Gilbert dismissed Lesinski's plan as inconsistent.
"This is the same guy who a few weeks ago wanted to impose a new tax on business based on how many employees they hire," Gilbert said.
In June, Lesinski proposed accepting $125 million in federal stimulus dollars for additional unemployment benefits, then creating a tax credit for smaller businesses to offset the higher costs once federal funding ran out.
Lesinski's proposals alternate between helping and hurting the valley's large employers.
"He should decide which it is and pick pretty quick," Gilbert said.
Election Day is Nov. 3.