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Getting Virginia Back to Work: A New Commonwealth Institute Report

By Mike Signer | September 27, 2011 | No Comments

A shout-out here to Virginia’s Commonwealth Institute for releasing a bold and creative new report called “Getting Virginia Back to Work: A Blueprint for Prosperity.”  The report contains an ambitious range of proposals, broken into four areas:  “Pave the way for an economy that works,” “Educate tomorrow’s workers today,” “Ensure a healthy and productive workforce,” and “Create a 21st century revenue system for a 21st century economy.”

The proposals range from the very bold (developing a self-funding “Virginia Investment Bank,” along the lines of a similar outfit in North Dakota, that could fund Virginia businesses) to the common sense (expanding access to school breakfast, particularly for needy kids).  They span from creating a work-share program that would enable businesses to avoid laying off workers to expanding teacher retention through better pay (the average salary for teachers in Virginia is $50,015-$5,187 less than the national average and $4,722 less than the average of the Mid-Atlantic states).

You may not agree with everything in the report, but it is worth reading cover-to-cover as a cattle-prod for the legislature to act on some fresh new ideas to invigorate Virginia’s economy and invest in our citizens.

As an aside, the report also shows the value of institutions dedicated to public policy.  I’ve long admired how influential think tanks can be, whether on the left or the right.  The fact is, many people in government just don’t have the time to research and develop new ideas — so when folks like the Commonwealth Institute do, particularly with research and care, they can really help government move forward on public policy.

Discussions of our public policy goals are healthy, no matter what.  So kudos to the Commonwealth Institute for taking this charge on, and I hope many other Virginia organizations — across the spectrum — follow suit.

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