City Budget and Economic Growth

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As a small business owner, I understand that Virginia Beach must cultivate long-term business growth and support small businesses. We must attract high-paying jobs and maintain a low cost of living and a level economic playing field, and address the disparity in City contracts. When faced with unnecessary tax or fee increases, I co-sponsored alternate City budgets that responsibly funded priorities that reflect the economic realities of families.

  • Co-sponsored alternate City budgets in 2017, 2018 and 2019 that responsibly fund our city’s needs without unnecessary tax or fee increases and promote economic development in biomedical and cybersecurity
  • Collaborated with colleagues to unanimously support a flexible 2020 City Budget due to COVID-19; ensured no tax or fee increases, included tax relief for residents and businesses and restored $7.7 million of previously cut funding for our schools
  • Supports attracting high-wage careers in expanding industries that will help diversify our economy and propel long-term economic growth for Virginia Beach
  • First Councilmember to publicly support the Disparity Study, which identified disparities among minorities and women in how the City awarded contract bids
  • Co-sponsored an ordinance to revise the City Charter to limit unelected third parties from issuing City debt, which affects our bond rating
  • Supports small businesses by sponsoring ordinances that eliminated the meals tax during COVID-19, updated the classification of food trucks, reduced cost of obtaining a business license and eased business restrictions for the budding Historic Kempsville District
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Councilwoman Jessica Abbott discussing her constituent’s priorities at a City Council Retreat.

The livability of our community directly relates to fiscal policies that allow our residents to afford the cost of living in Virginia Beach. I am a consistent advocate for you and your family to keep more of what you earn. I have sponsored alternative City budgets in (2017, 2018 and 2019) that better reflect the economic reality for an astonishing amount of Beach families by never voting to raise taxes or fees. I have voted against tax and fee increases because lower- and fixed-income families are disproportionately affected. I collaborated with my colleagues to support a flexible 2020 City Budget due to COVID-19. I fought to ensure no tax or fee increases and to include tax relief for residents and businesses, improved security recommendations, and restored $7.7 million of previously cut funding for our schools. As your councilmember, I have a fiduciary duty to prioritize needs before wants – just like your family does. 

Councilwoman Jessica Abbott speaking at the Faith, Freedom and Justice March to support the Disparity Study in 2017

I champion policies that have earned me a reputation as standing up for “the little guy”. I promote a level economic playing field to allow small businesses to grow. I am a vocal critic of entrenched elite insiders distorting our electoral process and from benefiting from preferential treatment from the City while taxpayers absorb the risk. I was the first councilmember to publicly support the Disparity Study, which has shown that a steep disparity persists in City contracts awarded to minorities and women. An equitable, level playing field will foster competition, encourage economic growth, and will signal that our City is open for business for all. 

Economic growth needs high-wage careers in expanding industries that will help propel our City and our region into the new 21st Century economy. To promote long-term economic growth for Virginia Beach, we must be on the cutting-edge of technological innovation and provide quality broadband services. I support attracting high-paying jobs that will diversify our economy and complement our investments in military spending, tourism, and agriculture. We must also address our obstacles to economic vitality. Too many young people are leaving our region – we must foster our incredible potential to develop local talent through educational opportunities to invest in our future. While there are many promising economic indicators, private-sector growth across our region still lags behind state and national averages; our small business climate has room for improvement. I sponsored ordinances that eliminated the meals tax during COVID-19 and cut unnecessary red tape to reduce the burdens on small businesses. I strive for a political climate that is supportive of small business growth to create a thriving city and neighborhoods. 

Councilwoman Abbott with small business owners.

Lastly, the City Charter limits the ability of the City Council to issue public debt without a bond referendum or supermajority vote. However, an unelected third party, the Virginia Beach Development Authority, can bypass both the people of Virginia Beach and City Council to issue public debt. It is not backed by the full faith and credit of the City and yet affects our bond rating. I have co-sponsored legislation to limit the ability of an unelected body to impose public debt. We must bring these decisions back to the people of Virginia Beach and to the City Council that is elected by and held accountable to the people.

With your support, I will continue to stand for responsibly balanced budgets and the economic vitality of our City. Please consider donating or volunteering to show your support.