FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 10, 2003

Ellen Qualls
www.governor.state.va.us
(804) 786-2211, x2379


Jill Vaughan
VEDP
(804) 371-0049
GOVERNOR WARNER THANKS BUSINESSES LOCATING OR EXPANDING IN VIRGINIA AS NEW JOB TOTAL NEARS 50,000
-Three separate national rankings echo Virginia’s economic development success -


RICHMOND - Governor Mark R. Warner today announced that 48,681new jobs and 4,944 saved jobs have been announced since he was sworn in as Governor in January 2002. During that time, Virginia has announced more than $6.2 billion in new capital investment. The data was compiled by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the state’s marketing arm charged with recruiting new businesses, helping existing businesses expand, and promoting Virginia exports overseas. Governor Warner met with 75 senior corporate executives today at the Executive Mansion. The company officials in attendance were directly involved in locating or expanding their companies in the Commonwealth over the past two years.

“Today I express thanks to over 140 companies that have decided that Virginia made the best economic sense for their business,” said Governor Warner. “I applaud the aggressive efforts of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and all of Virginia’s local and regional economic development professionals for their tireless efforts in promoting Virginia as a business location. We have more work to do and I look forward to continuing my role as Virginia’s chief economic development officer.”

Three national rankings have recently praised Virginia’s business climate and economic development efforts, placing the Commonwealth as one of the best states for business in the United States—even in a soft economy.

Plants Sites & Parks magazine (PS&P) announced today that Virginia ranked first in its annual survey of top business locations. The Bizsites Survey is an analysis of recent office and industrial relocation and expansion activity based on various criteria, including the number of jobs created and the amount of capital investment in new projects. Using a weighted scoring system (for instance; jobs created is more important than square feet created), PS&P ranks the states as an indicator of where companies are thriving, growing and moving. This year, for the first time, state population data was entered into the mix, so that the increase in jobs-per-capita related to new projects was given consideration.

PS&P, a spin-off of the National Real Estate Investor in 1974, provides information and advice to 44,500 corporate site selectors. More than half of PS&P's readers are C-officers at their companies; the rest are corporate real estate executives and consultants. Read more about the survey at www.bizsites.com. Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Len Scaffidi said he wasn't surprised by the results:

"Virginia has consistently made the PS&P top ten for several years. Now that we're adjusting the scores to reflect the economic impact based on population, I'm not at all surprised to see the state leading recent winners such as Texas, Michigan and California. Virginia has done an excellent job creating a business-friendly atmosphere, and the dividends are evident when you look at all the new projects throughout the entire state."

Virginia was also ranked number one on the Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States 2004 list. The study identifies 25 factors, all controlled by state government -- including human resources, infrastructure, taxation and state economic incentive programs -- that can positively impact business and job development. “We have singled out 10 states that should serve as models for the rest of the country and Washington,” explains Dr. Ronald R. Pollina, founder and president of Pollina Corporate Real Estate and author of the Keeping Jobs in America study. The report identifies successful strategies that can be used to retain American jobs and 10 U.S. states that are doing the right thing to keep jobs here. Read more about the study at www.pollina.com.

For the fourth year, Virginia’s economy is among the top performers in the nation, according to the 2003 Development Report Card for the States. High technology industry employment, a high number of initial public offerings, and federal research and development dollars flowing into the state bolster Virginia’s high marks, as do low rates of poverty and unemployment. The 17th annual report card, released by the non-profit, Washington-based Corporation for Enterprise Development, is a broad-based state-by-state comparison of the economies of the 50 states, with 68 measures taken into account. Read more about the study at www.drc.cfed.org.

Governor Warner has been personally involved in aggressively marketing Virginia as a business location and trading partner. The Governor has conducted business recruitment meetings with companies in Detroit, New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Western Europe. He recently returned from his first trade mission to Mexico where he promoted Virginia exports, agricultural products and tourism. Secretary of Commerce and Trade Michael J. Schewel also traveled to Asia this fall to market Virginia. Virginia Economic Development Partnership staff members in Virginia and its six overseas offices continuously promote the Commonwealth around the globe.

VIRGINIA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIP

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