A recent poll from Virginia Commonwealth University found 80% of Virginians support the use of tax breaks or other incentives for companies that agree to expand or relocate their operations to Virginia. The poll generated other interesting findings regarding incentives:

  • 54% of supportive respondents said they would still support financial incentives even if there were no limitations on the dollar amount of the incentives.
  • 25% said they would still support incentives even if “provided up front to companies that eventually decide not to bring their business to Virginia.” This is certainly unexpected.
  • On the other hand among those opposed to incentives, 43% would support incentives if there were limits placed on the total amount offered, while 48% would support incentives if a clawback were included that required companies to return incentives if they do not bring their business to the state.

Caps on total amounts and safeguards (clawbacks or pay for performance agreements) are good economic development practices that many incentive programs already incorporate.

Last year VCU conducted a similar poll about economic development priorities and familiarity with statewide workforce development programs. This year’s poll once again found low levels of awareness about the state’s One-Stop Career Centers. Only 19% of respondents said they were very or somewhat familiar with the Centers. However, 39% said they would be very or somewhat likely to use a One-Stop Center in a job search.

As Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore commented, “These survey findings reveal an opportunity for the commonwealth to increase awareness and use of our network of 65 One-Stop Career Centers.”

The 2017 Summer Public Policy Poll, sponsored by the Office of Public Policy at VCU’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, obtained telephone interviews with a representative sample of 806 adults, age 18 or older, living in Virginia. Interviews were conducted by landline and cell phone by Princeton Survey Research Associates International during July 2017. The margin sampling of effort is +/- 4.2%. The complete Economic Development Summer Public Policy Poll report can be found at: http://www.wilder.vcu.edu/office-of-public-policy-outreach/.