Members of the Virginia House Appropriations Committee roundly criticized a major economic development project the McDonnell administration currently has in the works. Delegates were critical of the state’s promise to give millions in incentives to the Washington Redskins and questioned whether the team might have stayed, anyway, even without a taxpayer handout.
The Delegates shredded the state’s $4-million concession to the Redskins to keep the team’s offices in Loudoun County. They said they rejected an incentive package during the legislative session. Chairman Lacey Putney questioned the governor’s chief of staff, Martin Kent, on the rationale for sending tax dollars to one of the most profitable NFL teams.
Q-Chairman Putney: “When this matter was soundly rejected by this legislative body, explain to me why that didn’t count?”
A-Martin Kent: “Why, Mr. Chair, of course it counted. Obviously the governor is very, very concerned about making sure that particularly our appropriations committees are supportive of a lot of the deals that we do. In this situation, we felt like, given the dynamics of this deal as it changed dramatically in very short order, lended itself to a far more lucrative deal than we initially thought it would be.”
Kent says the incentive is smaller than the $12-million the Redskins asked for. And the income and sales tax revenue the team generates will recoup the investment within a year.