In April Governor McAuliffe traveled to Europe for a week with a team of “economic development consultants” billing the taxpayers $186,000 for the junket. No Governors in the country travel at taxpayer expense more than Virginia Governors, 31 times over the last ten years, according to Andrew Cassey an assistant economics professor at Washington State University who examined data from all 50 states. Cassey was unable to determine if these trips made any difference in the economic health of the state,
“It’s really hard to prove,” Cassey said in an email. “Deals could be worked out years later. The best anyone has done is to find evidence of a small uptick that we cannot be 90 percent sure is from the mission or some other event, including randomness.”
Nevertheless our Governor continued the tradition of lavish trade trips around the world. From DailyPress.com,
The state paid for professional photography, a London public relations team and a hotel dinner party highlighting the Virginia wine industry. Bills from a pair of London-based consulting firms working on the trip topped $50,000, and the cost of renting and running a booth at a trade fair in Germany cost about $29,000.
Professional photography and a public relations team? Really? Were those things necessary? McAuliffe insists such trips are ‘crucial’ although there is nothing he can point to as a result of such trips.
McAuliffe spent time in Belgium, Germany, and England where a good time was had by all.