Reason, Liberty, & Culture

Government pork.

'Go Virginia' Scam More of the Same Government Waste

by Lewis Loflin

Something called "GO Virginia!" is ANOTHER useless state-funded economic development board. The Bristol Herald Courier (March 17, 2018) called the latest economic development stats "somewhat of an eye-opener." It's not an "eye-opener" for anyone with a brain larger than a flea.

I've documented for two decades the over-reliance of this region on government programs. Hundreds of millions in government economic development funds wasted on empty energy research centers, green energy scams, fish farms, strawberry farms, funds stolen to pay for a library, empty train stations, public funds used to lobby for public funds for Amtrak to Bristol, etc. $12 million for a country music museum, $2 million to fix a private barn to promote country music, and dozens of non-profits set up solely for politicians to channel public grants to.

This also includes $100-$200 million for fiber optic only to have a major portion of it sold to a private company founded with public money. BVU-Optinet saw a dozen company officers and contractors go to federal prison for doing exactly what I said over a decade ago. It was another publicly funded private fiefdom. It is being sold for $50 million under more shady secrecy without public comment or access to the process.

The result? Region 1 (Southwest Virginia) just from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, saw another 0.9% decline in jobs. The shock was expressed by a Mike Quillion a former CEO of Alpha Natural Resources whose company cost taxpayers millions in waste for jobs that never materialized. He is an example why we are in this mess.

The scam started in Abingdon when they sold their building to Washington County for millions over the appraised value in dirty secret deals that barred public input or knowledge. Note this was all legal. Costs to Washington County taxpayers including interest $10-$20 million for a shiny new office space when their old office space cost $1 a year.

They moved to Bristol got $9 million in free land, millions in grants and utility kickbacks, etc. cost taxpayers another ~$20 million. The hundred or so jobs promised ($200,000 per job) never materialized as far as I knew. They filed for bankruptcy, reorganized, and moved to Tennessee. The building and property were sold to a foreign investor I think for $27 million. The developer walked away with the money. The building is still empty in 2018.

This is why economic development never works here. They refuse to address an abusive and corrupt business climate. They refuse to address labor abuse and low wages that cause our young people to leave. Many others to refuse to work under these conditions. There's zero public input as crony capitalism sucks up millions of public dollars producing nothing for the average citizen.

They refuse to address human capital or strive to deal with real problems.

Deals like Alpha is how business is conducted. Secrecy and backroom deals, not conducting public business in public. 'Go Virginia' is more of the same. To quote,
"GO, Virginia, also known as the Virginia Initiative for Growth and Opportunity in Each Region, is a bipartisan, business-led economic development initiative..."

And District 1 (Southwest Virginia) came out dead last again. All we are doing is letting the same business rats guard the cheese factory. While our employment fell 0.9%, Virginia went up 0.9% and the US by 1.5%.

To further quote,

"...supporting existing businesses that showcase opportunities for expansion, market opportunities and growing products; and the recruitment of new industries and operations to Southwest Virginia..." They have been doing that for 20 years! Let's see a list of those jobs! Their website says the following:

Background of GO Virginia GO Virginia was established during the 2016 General Assembly session. It was initiated by the Council on Virginia’s Future and the Virginia Business Higher Education Council [VBHEC].

The initiative is based on three main points, according to the GO Virginia website. Virginia needs strong private-sector growth and job creation due to federal cutbacks that have exposed the state's over-dependence on public-sector jobs. Second, for the state to grow and diversify its economy, there must be the collaboration between business, education and government sectors. Third, the state government had to provide incentives for strategic, job-focused collaboration for each region of Virginia.

GO Virginia divided the state into nine regional councils with Southwest Virginia designated as Region One. A majority of the members of each regional council must be private business leaders, but there are also leaders from the economic and workforce development sectors."


What is missing? No input from labor. No public access to most of the process. Virginia is a labor hostile low wage state.

Region 1 consists of the cities of Bristol, Galax, and Norton; and the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe.

UVA at Wise serves as Region 1's support organization. (They have received millions in grants and a new $30 million convocation center. They produce nothing outside their own closed organization.)

Let's compare the rest of the state to Region 1.

Total Population: 385,045
Total Employment: 149,694
Median Income Level: $36,755
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (including those in disability and other unemployment programs it's more likely 20-30%)

Region 9 At-A-Glance

Region 9 consists of the city of Charlottesville; and the counties of Albemarle, Culpeper, Fauquier, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson, Orange, and Rappahannock.

Total Population: 424,688
Total Employment: 208,404
Median Income Level: $53,000
Unemployment Rate: 3.4%

Region 8 At-A-Glance

Region 8 consists of the cities of Buena Vista, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Staunton, Waynesboro, Winchester; and the counties of Augusta, Bath, Clarke, Frederick, Highland, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren. like much of the rural parts of the state they do little better than Bristol. Wages are driven down and workers hurt by a large illegal alien presence in meat packing, agriculture, etc.

Meatpacking is typical of the war on workers. The New York Times in 2001 set meatpacking wages at $18 inflation adjusted from 1981. It was $9.04 in 1981. CPI inflation calculator would be $26.55 today. Median pay in 2017 was $13.00. A 50% drop in real wages in an industry overrun by illegal aliens and immigrants.

Minimum wage in 1981 was $3.35 adjusted for inflation $9.35. This is the pay rate for most of the service and hospitality jobs that dominate Bristol today. Business goals accomplished in Bristol, except can't get enough wage serfs.

Total Population: 528,945
Total Employment: 248,553
Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
Median Income Level: $41,000

Region 4 At-A-Glance

Region 4 consists of the cities Colonial Heights, Emporia, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Richmond; and the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Greensville, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, Powhatan, Prince George, Surry, and Sussex. This is certainly dragged down by the high black poverty rates in Richmond and Petersburg.

While they do earn more than Bristol the high cost of housing, etc. eats that up for the working poor.

Total Population: 1,245,838
Total Employment: 622,715
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Median Income Level: $50,000

Region 3 consists of the cities of Danville and Martinsville; and the counties of Amelia, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Halifax, Henry, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Patrick, Pittsylvania, and Prince Edward.

This largely mirrors Region 1. The same economic development scams such a the Tobacco Commission largely failed here. Cities have large poor black populations.

Total Population: 371,700
Total Employment: 153,265
Unemployment Rate: 5.3%
Median Income Level: $35,000

Region 7 consists of the cities Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park; and the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William.

Total Population: 2,461,243
Total Employment: 1,301,155
Unemployment Rate: 3.2%
Median Income Level: $70,000
Note: poverty rates Washington DC ~24%.

Northern Virginia has most of the wealth, the worst income disparity, minority poverty, etc. Yet liberals blame this on lower income whites as they harp racism from their wealthy gated communities. Remove low-wage illegal aliens, blacks, and Hispanics the median family income for Region 7 is almost $200,000 with a poverty rate of around 0% based on Washington D.C.

Tucked inside wealthy Northern Virginia are pockets of poverty, the report says By Perry Stein November 28, 2017 Washington Post. To quote,

The report states that Hispanics and African Americans comprise 17 percent and 11 percent of Northern Virginians, respectively, yet minorities are often clustered into some of the region’s poorest areas.

In a low-income tract of Arlandria, at the Alexandria and Arlington County line, 25 percent of the population is Hispanic, and 42 percent black. In the Southern Towers community in Alexandria, 72 percent of the population is black. High housing costs make it difficult for residents to leave lower-income areas, according to the report.

The report also found that Asian Americans tended to live in tracts that were more affluent than those of other minorities. For example, the Brambleton area of Loudoun County is one of the 20 wealthiest tracts in Northern Virginia, with a median household income of $198,680. In that tract, Asians make up 46 percent of the population, and whites account for 40 percent.

Isn't it interesting that a ~25% poverty rate is equal to the black and Hispanic populations of 28% are nearly the same? The area is swamped with illegal alien wage serfs.

From www.countyhealthrankings.org.

Compare to Richmond rank 108; children in poverty 39%; single parent household 64%; Violent crime 631 Va. 194

Bristol VA rank 128; children in poverty 38%: single parent household 47%; Violent crime Bristol 328; Virginia 194.

129 Covington City (CI)
130 Galax City (GA)
131 Emporia City (EM)
132 Martinsville City (MV)
133 Petersburg City (PB)

Washington County Va. rank 63; children in poverty 19%; single parent household 24%; Violent crime 127, Va. 194.

Wise County, Va. rank 126; children in poverty 29%; single parent household 33% Violent crime 204; Va. 194

Norton Va. rank 74. Children in poverty 34%; single parent households 41%. Violent crime 221; Va. 194

Overall Rankings in Health Outcomes higher number is worse:

Washington: 63
Scott: 92
Smyth: 102
Russell: 113
Tazewell: 118
Buchanan: 122
Wise: 124
Dickenson: 125
Bristol: 128

Overall Rankings in Health Factors. Higher number is worse:

Washington: 60
Scott: 90
Smyth: 100
Russell: 116
Bristol: 117
Tazewell: 120
Wise: 126
Dickenson: 129
Buchanan: 132



TENNESSEE

Sullivan County, TN rank 25; children in poverty 24%; single parent household 33%; Violent crime 477 Tenn. 614.

Hamblen County, Tenn. Rank 55. Children in poverty 24%; single parent households 35%; Violent crime 427 Tenn. 614.

Washington county, Tenn. rank 19; Children in poverty 21%; single parent household 32%; Violent crime 357 Tenn. 614.

Overall Rankings in Health Outcomes lower is better:

Washington: 19
Sullivan: 25
Johnson: 77

Overall Rankings in Health Factors:

Washington: 5
Sullivan: 12
Johnson: 37


My electronics website:

Gateway Pages for this website:   » General Subjects
  » Archive 1   » Archive 2   » Archive 3
  » Archive 4   » Archive 5   » Archive 6
  » Archive 7   » Archive 8   » Archive 9

New for December 2017:


donate

What is Fake News?

Allcott and Gentzkow define "fake news" to be "news articles that are intentionally and verifiably false, and could mislead readers." They attempt to exclude disreputable media practices and bias from the definition. 62 percent of US adults get news on social media, while 65% distrust the mainstream media and that concerns me. Print media influence in the 2016 election was down to 8%.

I define "fake news" as articles designed to create false, biased, narratives with partial facts filtered through a Progressive filter, censor pertinent facts by omission, block discussion through editorial censorship, that is ideologically slanted, and designed not to give facts, but stoke emotion and sway public opinion. This skirts the fringes of propaganda and yellow journalism.

Ref. Journal of Economic Perspectives Volume 31, Number 2 Spring 2017 Pages 211-236, Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election by Hunt Allcott and Matthew Gentzkow

Sources of 2016 Election News:
Radio: 6.2%
Print: 8%
Social Media: 13.8%

Gallup polls reveal a continuing decline of "trust and confidence" in the mass media "when it comes to reporting the news fully, accurately, and fairly."

Trust in Mainstream media: Democrats 52%, Republicans ~18%, overall ~35%. 65% of the public doesn't trust the mainstream media. 62 percent of US adults get news on social media.