News Briefs: July 27 – August 2

F.C. First in Virginia in Income Investment, Study Shows

The City of Falls Church is far outperforming all other jurisdictions in Virginia in terms of income investment, a new study from SmartAsset shows. SmartAsset has released its annual study on the places receiving the most incoming investment. The study measures growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), new business launches and new building permits to determine the places receiving the most investment locally.

According to the study, Falls Church City ranked first among the places in Virginia with the most incoming investment.

The study identifies the places across the U.S. which are receiving the most incoming investment. The study measures investment in counties across three metrics: business establishment growth, gross domestic product (GDP) growth and new building permits.

Smart Asset looked at the change in the number of businesses established in each location over a 3-year period. This shows whether or not people are starting new business ventures in the county. The second factor it looked at was GDP growth. They used real growth (inflation adjusted) in the local economy.

Nine GOP Challengers Line Up To Oppose Sen. Kaine in ‘24

Ahead of next year’s election, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who is seeking a third six-year term, has already drawn nine declared GOP opponents who will vie in a primary next spring, according to reports.

The challengers include multiple MAGA candidates who support statewide and national abortion bans, oppose expanding voting rights and removing health care protections for 1.3 million Virginians with pre-existing medical conditions. 

Announced last week were Navy veteran Hung Cao, who gave Rep. Jennifer Wexton a run for her money last year, attorney Jonathan Emord and Scott Parkinson, a former aide to Ron DeSantis.

New Tax Credit Push Coming To Help Newspapers 

According to Brier Dudley of the Seattle Times Free Press, one of the more promising policy ideas to stop the decimation of local newsrooms is back in play. Federal tax credits to preserve newsroom jobs, and incentivize publishers to create more of them, were nearly approved as part of federal spending packages in 2021 and 2022.

Now a scaled-back version is proposed by U.S. Reps. Claudia Tenney, a New York Republican, and Suzan DelBene, a Washington state Democrat.

The “Community News and Small Business Support Act,,”  H.R. 4756, on Friday will bid for passage in the coming year. “We have 218 million Americans who access news from their local papers every month but since 2004, while our population has grown, the number of newsroom employees has dropped by 57 percent,” DelBene said.

Fairfax Co.: Huge Office Market But With 16.7 Percent Vacancy Rate 

Fairfax County is currently the second largest suburban office market in the nation, with an inventory of 120 million square feet, but the current office vacancy rate sits at 16.7 percent, topping the county’s previous 10-year high, according to Stephen Tarditi, director of market intelligence at the Fairfax County Economic Development. Tarditi presented the data to the Fairfax Board of Supervisors’ economic advisory committee last week.

He said that despite the county’s vacancy rate, the demand for office leasing is increasing. “Last year, we had 6.6 million-square-feet of office space leased, so we’re 37 percent below our pre-pandemic average,” he said. “And comparing that to 2021, we were about 4.5 million square feet.”

Fairfax Named No. 1 ‘Digital County’ in U.S. 

Fairfax County has been named this year’s No. 1 jurisdiction in the Digital Counties Survey’s One Million or More Population category. 

The Digital Counties Survey Awards provides an annual measure of technology performance and innovation conducted through an in-depth review of the programs and initiatives created and implemented by counties across the nation. The awards recognize the best practices in the areas of open government, transparency, strategic planning, public engagement, shared services, cybersecurity, and operations.

Fairfax County has made continuous improvements, rising through the ranks of the Digital Counties Survey Awards through the years. Over the past three years they shot up from fifth, to second, to finally first place, according to Fairfax Board Chair Jeff McKay. “Our County continues to emphasize data management that is supported by both a Data Analytics Advisory Group and a Data Governance Council,” he reported this week.