Virginia General Assembly Update to January 18, 2011

Tagged in: Advocacy
Virginia General Assembly Update  to  January 18, 2011

News and Notes from the Virginia General Assembly

 

Points of Contact: Ira Agricola, Senior Vice President &
Candace Reid, Director, Municipal & Governmenal Affairs
Representing: Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce &
Greater Williamsburg Chamber &Tourism Alliance

 

 Tuesday, January 18, 2011



No portion of this communication may be retransmitted or reproduced without the expressed permission of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce

 

Commonwealth Posts 9.5% Revenue Growth in December 

  • December revenue collections increased by 9.5% over the prior year making it the ninth month out of the last ten with an increase in revenue collections.

 

  •  The revenue increase was primarily driven by withholding (+3.9%), corporate income (+3.4%), and sales tax (+8.6%).

 

  • Added 67,000 net new jobs in the Commonwealth since February 2010, the third greatest amount nationally.

 

  • While there is economic progress, over 280,000 Virginians remain unemployed.

 

Several Bills Foster Concern in Hospitality Industry

A number of bills have been introduced which would reverse a law that has been in place for 20 years requiring Virginia Public Schools (K-12) to start after Labor Day, the traditional end of summer.

One in every five vacations taken in Virginia is taken in August or September. Moving school start dates uniformly into August would forgo tourist spending by in-state residents by more than $275 million.

An analysis conducted by DecideSmart regarding the economic contribution of Virginia’s travel and tourism industry and the economic consequences of shortening the high tourism season was released on December 8.  The analysis focused specifically on the summer months and the pre-Labor Day period. Sixty-four percent of adults strongly prefer the current post-Labor Day school start. To review the complete study, click here.

The Chamber is OPPOSED to HB1433 (Greason), HB1480(Cleveland), HB1483 (Cleveland), and HB1543 (Kory, Bulovia, Herring, and Surovell) and all bills that allow schools to open prior to Labor Day.

 These bills would likely be heard in a House Education Subcommittee chaired by Delegate Loupassi. Other members are: Lingamfelter, Bell, Lemunyon, Robinson, Shuler, McClellan, and Morrissey.

 

Chamber Represented in State Capitol Transportation Press Conference

On Friday, January 14, more than 37 organizations, including the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, stood in support of Governor Bob McDonnell’s $4 billion transportation agenda.

 

The main components announced were as follows: 

  • Retain .25% of sales tax generated within Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia for transportation improvements in these regions.

 

  • Pass a constitutional amendment to permanently protect the Commonwealth Transportation Fund from transfers to the General Fund.

 

  • Privatize the retail operations of the ABC and generate $300 million for the Transportation Infrastructure Bank.

 

  • Provide a tax credit to employers for expenses incurred in allowing employees to telework.

 

  • Amending the powers of VDOT Commissioner to give him more flexibility in structuring agency personnel, reduce project delivery times and streamline reporting requirements.

 

  • Grant $50 per container income tax credit for any company that ship cargo containers via barge or rail.

 

Nine hundred projects statewide will be funded with the implementation of these proposals. $1 billion in transportation funding can put more than 18,000 people to work and create $2.5 billion in economic activity in Virginia.

 

Unemployment Insurance Bills Introduced


SB790
(Impact statement for unemployment compensation bills), SB791 (Extended unemployment benefits, clarifies expiration of provisions that expanded certain criteria).

SB1010 – Delays MER increase (supported by the Chamber).

SB1113 – Removes 50% of Social Security offset when the trust fund dips below 50% (Opposed by the Chamber).

Governor Establishes Independent Bipartisan Redistricting Commission


Governor Bob McDonnell signed Executive Order #31 creating an Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on redistricting. The Commission will receive final census data in February to create and review proposed redistricting plans for the Virginia House of Delegates, Senate of Virginia, and Congressional districts. The Commission will then recommend plans that meet the required criteria to the General Assembly. The Commission will be chaired by Bob Holsworth, Managing Partner of DecideSmart.

 

Proposed Long-term Reforms to Virginia’s Retirement System

Governor Bob McDonnell proposed that all Virginia employees will contribute 5% to their retirement plans. Employees will receive a 3% pay increase to partially offset the requirement. The change will put an additional $300 million into the Virginia Retirement System in FY2012 and $4.2 billion in ten years.

Currently there is an unfunded liability of $17.6 billion.

Transportation Funding Bill Proposes Taxing Out-of-State Corporations that Sell Services in Virginia


HB1604
- Delegates David Albo, Thomas Rust, and Joe May have proposed eliminating a corporate income tax loophole that allows certain out-of-state corporations to escape paying Virginia Corporate income tax on earnings from the sales of service in Virginia. The Delegates further propose that the $150 to $200 million generated be used to repair Virginia’s transportation infrastructure.

 

This bill supports the JLARC (Joint Legislative Audit Review Committee) recommendation to treat the sale of goods and services similarly when calculating the allocation for sales when determining corporate income tax.

 

The Chamber does not have a position on the Albo/Rust/May proposal.

 

Hampton Roads Caucus Schedule

The Hampton Roads Caucus (all 31 delegates and senators from the Hampton Roads region) will hold its first meeting on Thursday, January 20 at 8:00 a.m. in the Speakers conference Room, 6th floor.

 

The meetings, chaired by Delegate John Cosgrove, will be held each Thursday until February 24th. Harry Lester of EVMS and Amy Sampson from CHKD will address the first meeting of the caucus.

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