Fostering a strong economy that lifts everyone up is a crucial goal of Ben’s. His economic plan focuses on keeping our economy growing, boosting wages, and providing opportunity while incorporating the needs of both the rural and urban communities in the district. His plan for our economy is to:
- Fight for fair taxation. According to the Commonwealth Institute, families in Virginia that make more than $587,000 pay less in state and local taxes than do families making under $22,000 a year (7% vs. 9.8%). That’s not fair. Ben will work to cut regressive taxes on working families and a more progressive income tax in Virginia.
- Expand affordable housing. As our community faces rising housing prices, it’s crucial that we focus on creating long term sustainable housing solutions. We need to fund the public housing trust, cut back on zoning restrictions that have been used to segregate communities, and create zones of opportunity to encourage more affordable housing options.
- Expand broadband. Every person in the district deserves access to reliable high-speed internet. But there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. In areas with clear lines of sight, more cell towers work well. In other areas, like hilly Louisa County, we need to expand fiber. Let’s assist local governments with grant money to implement their own best solution
- Build community food enterprise centers. These centers will provide small farmers with community commercial kitchens, canning facilities, and pasteurization salons lowering the cost of entry into an expensive market and boosting our local economy.
- Mobile slaughterhouses. Small meat producers are stifled by the limited number of USDA slaughterhouses. USDA-inspected mobile abattoirs is a cheap practical solution to leveling the playing field for small farmers.
- Fight for a living wage. The economy thrives when people can earn enough to succeed, start a family, and invest in their future. Without a fair living wage for all Virginians, we are hurting our long term prosperity.
- Reform occupational licensing. Commonsense occupational licensing reform for professions not hazardous to public safety, as championed by President Obama, will make it easier to get jobs.
- End Right-to-Work. Ben believes that strong unions are engines of freedom and essential to a robust middle class, and that collective bargaining is a free market force which the government shouldn’t interfere with.
- Legalize Bars, allow family-owned liquor stores, and abolish the ABC. Craft beer has been booming ever since President Carter legalized homebrewing. We have outgrown Prohibition. Let’s abolish the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and clear the way for a boom in small family-owned businesses.