After 27 years it's become more like a reunion after an out-of-town football game than a missionary service in the home of the heathens when the Virginia Chamber of Commerce comes to New York to recruit industry.
The trips have worked so well that IBM is one of the Virginia businesses that sponsors the development drive nowadays. Mobil Oil soon will have nearly as big a staff in Fairfax County as it has on Lexington Avenue, General Electric has 13 plants in Virginia and Westinghouse has just as many, the chamber people boast.
The old-time industrial development religion that converted those Yankee capitalists into Virginians was preached again yesterday, when Gov. John Dalton was served up after the leg of lamb and mint jelly at the Waldorf-Astoria.
Good roads, good schools, good people and good government were the "good news" of the industrial evangelists. Nor did Dalton hesitate to exhort the development demons of excessive government regulation, powerful unions, high taxes or anti-business bias.
Decrying the "aura of suspicion" toward business. Dalton told 350 executives, "that attitude is not shared by the vast majority of Virginians, and it is not shared by your governor."
In all but a handful of the state's communities, property taxes already are lower than they will be in California after Proposition 13 goes into effect, he said.
Without mentioning Maryland by name, Dalton noted that the Virginia governor's office has never been touched by scandal.
"I support Virginia's right-to-work law" Dalton assured the business executives, and that support was backed up by state troopers during the coal strike.
"We sent hundreds of state troopers into the coal fields to see that nonunion miners could continue to work," he said.
If other states and the federal government had taken the same course, the strike wouldn't have been near as costly and wouldn't have lasted near as long."
On environmental issues, the state's stand is also attractive to business, Dalton said, explaining that he believes, "the quality of life is not enhanced for the family of a man who is out of a job."
The stat is turning out 40,000 young job seekers a year and has plenty of room for new business in its small towns and rural areas, Dalton said.
Saying the state's conservative economic philosphy has contributed to our economic advance," Dalton promised to "keep the welcome mat before the door" for new businesses.
The latest firm to cross that threshold was greeted by the Virginia governor at a press conference before the luncheon. Moulinex, a French small appliance maker, announced that will open a plan in Virginia Beach to manufacture its electric food processor, called La Machine.
George Hanbury, the Virginia Beach city manager, said Moulinex is investing $7 million in the plant and manufacturing equipment. The company will employ about 250 people when it opens next spring and could become a 700-job operations when Moulinex expands its small-appliance manufacturing in this country.
Small manufacturing plants in the 200 to 500 employe range are the main targets of the industrial development efforts now, said Richard Gillis, executive vice president of the state Chamber of Commerce.
Dalton touted the state's small towns and rural areas as the best prospects for manufacturers seeking new homes, and chamber officials said a companion drive for big corporate headquarters is aimed at the Virginia suburbs of Washington.