Economic Development & Job Creation
Senator Herring has fought to make the 33rd District, the Northern Virginia region, and Virginia as a whole, a globally recognized center for science and technology industry.
In 2011, Senator Herring sponsored and passed legislation establishing a Research and Development Tax Credit for early-stage firms in targeted industries, especially those companies accessing research and development services through Virginia colleges and universities. This incentive will ensure that Virginia can compete and win against other states and countries that have become increasingly aggressive in trying to attract advanced technology companies to their areas. During the 2010 session, Senator Herring sponsored and passed the Virginia Innovation Investment Act, which provides a targeted, long-term capital gains tax exclusion for new investment in small, start-up technology companies in Virginia if the investment is made in the next three years.
Innovation is a huge driver of economic growth. Science and technology industry jobs pay high wages and have high growth potential. Senator Herring believes we must take every action possible to make sure that those jobs are created in Virginia.
In 2009, Senator Herring sponsored and passed the Science and Technology Research Development and Commercialization Act, which encourages research, development, and commercialization of advancements in science and technology in the Commonwealth. During the 2011 session, he sponsored and passed legislation to bolster the Commonwealth Research and Commercialization Fund to create a comprehensive structure to grow Virginia’s innovation economy. And in 2012, Senator Herring sponsored and passed legislation to enhance Virginia’s competitiveness in attracting major data center investments by expanding Virginia’s data center sales tax exemption to also include data center tenants.
For his efforts, Senator Herring was recognized by the Virginia Biotechnology Association with their Legislative Leadership Award in 2009 and by the national Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) with their State Legislator of the Year Award for 2009-2010.
As our State Senator, Mark Herring has secured needed state transportation funding for infrastructure projects that have helped to alleviate congestion on some of our area's major roadways. These projects include:
- Construction of Route 28 overpasses at Nokes Boulevard, Frying Pan Road, and Willard Road
- Widening of Route 50 from Poland Road to Route 28
- Completion of Battlefield Parkway
- Completion of Atlantic Boulevard to parallel Route 28
Senator Herring was among the most vocal supporters in the General Assembly of completing Phase 2 of the Dulles Rail Project. During the 2012 session, he fought for an additional contribution of $500 million in state funding for the project in order to keep tolls on the Dulles Toll Road from skyrocketing. After successfully securing an additional $300 million in the Senate budget for the project, Governor McDonnell and Republicans in the House of Delegates pulled the plug on any additional state funding for Phase 2.
Senator Herring believes that the state and the federal government need to step up and make significant contributions to the completion of Phase 2 and will continue his efforts to secure those critical funds that would result in real toll relief for users of the Dulles Toll Road.
In 2011, Senator Herring served as chief co-patron of Governor Bob McDonnell’s transportation funding package. The plan is a first step toward addressing Virginia’s long-term transportation needs. It provides nearly $3 billion to be spent on over 900 transportation projects across the Commonwealth over the next three years.
Among the projects to be fully funded by the state are Loudoun County’s most pressing transportation infrastructure needs: the construction of the Route 7/Belmont Ridge Road interchange and the Sycolin flyover in Leesburg. The bond package also includes state funding for several other projects of importance to eastern Loudoun and western Fairfax County.
The transportation funding package also included a provision, introduced by Senator Herring, to amend the state’s highway “revenue sharing” program with localities to make more state matching funds available to localities that wish to undertake their own road construction projects.
In the fall of 2010, Senator Herring formed the Route 7 Task Force, a group of fifteen business and community leaders, to explore solutions aimed at alleviating congestion along the Route 7 corridor between the Town of Leesburg and the Fairfax/Loudoun border. The advocacy efforts of this group were critical to the inclusion of the Route 7/Belmont Ridge Road interchange and Sycolin flyover in the Governor’s bond package.
Senator Herring is also the author of Virginia’s Telework Tax Credit to encourage companies to set up telework programs and allow employees to spend less time in traffic and more time with their families.
Senator Herring knows that education is the key to helping children achieve their full potential, ensure that our economy remains strong, and helps to build a workforce that is prepared to compete successfully in a global economy. Since taking office in 2006, he has successfully worked to double Loudoun County’s share of state education funding.
In 2012, Governor McDonnell's proposed budget included eliminating the $65 million cost-of-competing adjustment for Northern Virginia school divisions. These funds are needed to help educate our children in Northern Virginia by offsetting the higher cost of living in our region. Senator Herring introduced a budget amendment to fully restore the Governor's cut and his efforts ultimately resulted in $40 million of those funds being restored.
One of Virginia's greatest assets is its world-class higher education system. In 2011, he sponsored and won legislation to protect Virginia’s Tuition Assistance Grant Program (TAG). The bill clarifies the current TAG program eligibility requirements in order to ensure that Virginia tax dollars are awarded to Virginia students attending Virginia private colleges and universities.
Senator Herring has been a strong supporter of higher education in our area, securing funding for two additional classroom buildings at the burgeoning Loudoun Campus of Northern Virginia Community College. He helped initiate and supported a collaborative effort among the business community, George Mason University, Northern Virginia Community College, Loudoun County Public Schools, Loudoun County, and the Town of Leesburg to establish a permanent campus of George Mason University in Loudoun. Read the GMU Resolution.
Senator Herring believes that providing for the public’s safety is one of government’s core responsibilities. He has worked with members of both parties in the General Assembly, law enforcement, prosecutors and a variety of victims’ rights advocates to craft legislation to protect some of Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens.
In 2009, Senator Herring began an effort to strengthen Virginia’s laws to protect seniors from financial abuse. During the 2012 session, he sponsored legislation that would make it a felony to knowingly financially exploit an older or incapacitated adult. The bill unanimously passed the Senate and the issue is currently under further study by the Virginia State Crime Commission.
In 2011, Senator Herring led the effort to crack down on an emerging threat to public health and safety in Virginia by championing legislation to criminalize dangerous designer drugs such as synthetic marijuana and bath salts. He will continue to work with law enforcement, forensic scientists and prosecutors to ensure they have the tools they need to stay one step ahead of the drug makers and dealers.
As a member of the Governor’s Domestic Violence Response and Advisory Board, and working with the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, Senator Herring sponsored and passed legislation in 2012 to strengthen penalties for strangulation, one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence.
For his commitment to justice for the citizens of Virginia, the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys awarded Senator Herring with a "Champion of Justice" award in 2012.
Senator Herring has been a strong proponent of common sense measures that promote transparency and accountability in government.
During the 2011 session, he introduced the Virginia Responsible Budgeting and Spending Control Act. The legislation would mandate that the Governor submit a financial plan to the General Assembly that includes projections for total state debt and projected future expenditures over periods of six and ten years. The Governor’s plan would also be available to the general public. Senator Herring believes that the General Assembly, and the public, should know precisely the fiscal consequences that spending and borrowing decisions will have on our state budget over the long term.
In 2010, he sponsored and passed the State Government Spending Accountability Act. This legislation requires each state agency to post their check register on their website. It also directs the Auditor of Public Accounts to conduct a review of Commonwealth Data Point, the searchable online database of state revenue and expenditure information that Virginia currently uses, and incorporate the best practices of other states to bring it up-to-date and make it more user-friendly.
Senator Herring also sponsored and passed an anti-SLAPP suit law, to protect citizens who speak out at public hearings against rezonings from being sued by developers. In the wake of a 2007 scandal of suspected corruption involving local zoning decisions, Senator Herring sponsored and passed tough disclosure laws that make Loudoun County's zoning and land-use process more transparent and merit-based.
Virginia is fortunate to be home to so many military personnel, their families and veterans. Senator Herring strongly believes it is important to honor their service by ensuring that they have the full support of the state and communities throughout our Commonwealth. Senator Herring is the Co-Chair of the Virginia National Guard Caucus in the General Assembly.
During the 2010 Session, Senator Herring sponsored and passed legislation that exempts payments to individuals from the Virginia Military Family Relief Fund from state income tax. In 2008, he sponsored and passed the Virginia Military Parents Equal Protection Act, which protects military parents from losing important child custody and visitation rights as a result of their deployment out of the Commonwealth. In 2011, he sponsored and passed a bill to enhance the Military Parents Equal Protection Act by allowing deployed military parents to delegate their visitation rights with children to a member of their family while they are stationed overseas.
Senator Herring is a supporter of and advocate for the soldiers and their families of his hometown unit, Company C, 3rd Batallion, 116th Infantry Division of the National Guard based at the Leesburg Armory. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Trustees of the Virginia War Memorial.