Virginia Gov. John N. Dalton came to New York today on an annual pilgrimage to invite business to a state he described as good for business and bad for unions.

At the 28th annual "Report to Top Management," a pitch to business and industry sponsored by the state's chamber of commerce, Dalton hailed Virginia's virtues, including its shrinking state government, its conservatism, its fiscal soundness and its right-to-work laws.

Increasing numbers of northern-based businesses and northerners have moved to the South in recent years, Dalton told a gathering of several hundred business and trade association officials at the Waldorf-Astoria. "Most of them have come because of the conservative political climate they find there," he said.

Dalton cited his accomplishments in reducing the rate of growth in the number of state employe positions, keeping a lid on taxes and balancing the budget.

He also told the group that the state's economy survived the last recession better than the nation's economy -- and recovered more quickly. "I think the same thing will result as the current recession runs its course," Dalton said. s

He also noted that the Continental Bank in Chicago recently ranked Virginia as the state with the best credit rating in the nation.

Dalton attacked federal regulations which he said were standing in the way of energy development in Virginia, a view he expressed earlier in the day in a telegram to President Carter. Dalton also made much of his record in defending the state's right-to-work law, which says that no one is required to join a union, even if covered by a union contract and its benefits.

"Several times during this administration I have ordered our state police to protect the right of employes to cross picket lines to their jobs during major strikes under this law," he said, citing how the state police kept coal production going during a coal strike and escorted workers across the picket line during a major shipyard strike.

Lt. Gov. Charles Robb, Attorney General Marshall Coleman and about a dozen state legislators attended the reception and luncheon. State economic development officials said the gatherings have proven successful in attracting business to the state. The gathering was financed by the Chamber of Commerce.