The senator who chairs the Virginia commission that oversees major economic development incentives predicts lawmakers will support both the $70 million incentive package announced recently for Micron and one for Amazon.com, should the Seattle company select the commonwealth for its second headquarters.
State Sen. Frank Ruff, R-Mecklenberg, called both incentive packages “particularly large” but said they are structured in a way that will earn lawmaker approval.
“Each one is a multiyear package, so you’re not talking about all the dollars up front,” he told me in an interview. “We structured them so that the taxpayers are protected in a situation where they don’t live up to the commitment.”
Ruff chairs the Major Employment and Investment Project Approval Commission, comprised of both executive branch and legislative leaders who vet incentive packages for businesses considering expansions or relocations in the state. Any proposal to lure Apple and its East Coast headquarters to Virginia would also go before the commission.
Ruff said the commission has already signed off on an undisclosed incentive package for Amazon that, like the $70 million package offered for Micron Technology’s $3 billion expansion in Manassas, would require legislation by the General Assembly. The e-commerce giant is considering Northern Virginia for its $5 billion second headquarters, expected to eventually reach 8 million square feet and 50,000 jobs.
State Sen. Jeremy McPike, D-Dale City, echoed Ruff, saying he too believes there will be legislative support for both incentive packages. He told me that the MEI Commission’s endorsement of a grant for Micron’s 1,100-employee expansion is a “very strong indicator from the General Assembly’s standpoint, in terms of looking at and reviewing the deal, making sure the numbers work for Virginia.”
“I think it would send the wrong message if we were to make this commitment and for the General Assembly to not fund and follow through on this commitment,” he said.
Virginia Speaker of the House Kirk Cox did not return a message seeking comment.