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
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.
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:
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
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.