December 7, 2021

Virginia small business group optimistic after election results

After Republicans performed well in Virginia’s statewide races and House of Delegates races, a small business association expressed optimism about how the industries it represents will fare in the new climate.

“Today’s decisive election results are sending a clear message across Virginia: people in the Commonwealth are sick of the status quo,” Nicole Riley, the state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, said in a statement regarding the election of Republicans Glenn Youngkin for governor, Winsome Sears for lieutenant governor and Jason Miyares for attorney general.

The NFIB endorsed all three candidates during the general election. Youngkin won the state by about 2.5%, Sears won by about 1.8% and Miyares won by about 1.4%.

“Our newly elected statewide leaders are committed to advocating for small business,” Riley said. “Virginia entrepreneurs have taken a beating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many had expressed their frustrations with the current administration. Youngkin, Sears, and Miyares understand that the future of Virginia is linked to small business. If we are going to get our state’s economy back on track, we need our innovative and hardworking small business owners. That’s why [the election] is so meaningful for small business.”

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Ralph Northam ordered restaurants to close for in-person dining and added quotas for the number of people allowed in stores and group settings. As the pandemic wound down, the state maintained social distancing restrictions, mask requirements and limits on in-person gatherings for months. After most of the rules ended, the state continued to offer the higher federally funded unemployment benefits, which some businesses believed were contributing to a worker shortage.

Under the current administration, the Democratic General Assembly also passed a minimum wage increase and legislation that allowed local governments to impose higher taxes on certain businesses.

Youngkin, along with many of the other Republicans, campaigned on keeping the state open and opposing vaccination mandates. Youngkin also said he would support a free-market approach on economics, a one-time $300 tax rebate with the state surplus, eliminating the grocery tax and never increasing taxes.

Republicans also won 52 of the 100 seats in the House, which was a seven-seat flip to give them a four-seat majority in the chamber. Riley said the House results were a clear win for business owners.

Democrats maintain a 21-19 majority in the Senate. None of the Senate seats were up for reelection in 2021.

This article was originally posted on Virginia small business group optimistic after election results