News and Notes from the Virginia General Assembly
Points of Contact: Ira Agricola, Senior Vice President &
Candace Reid, Director, Municipal & Governmental Affairs
Representing: Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce &
Greater Williamsburg Chamber &Tourism Alliance
Monday, January 24, 2011
Government Reform Commission – Several recommendations made by the Government Reform Commission are moving forward in this General Assembly Session. The top priority is to create one central Inspector General that reports directly to the Governor. There are also bills that would transfer three types of tax collection to the Department of Taxation.
Governor McDonnell’s 2011 Transportation Funding Proposals
Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank
The Virginia Department of Transportation’s Revenue Sharing Program provides matching funds to cities.
General Fund Surplus
Provides that the Comptroller shall, in each year where there is an end-of-year General Fund Surplus, assign within his annual report 2/3 for transportation.
Passenger Rail Capital and Operating Fund
$54 Million Proposed for Economic Development – includes $5 million for tourism efforts, $10 in tax reform to create jobs, and $25 million for the Virginia Research and Technology Innovation Fund.
Electronic Work Verification Program
Several bills require businesses to register and participate in the Federal Electronic Work Verification Program. This would not replace the Federal I-9 process. Proposed bills make E-verify a requirement, it’s currently voluntary.
SB1401 – The Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 contains many provisions affecting the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program.
The law contains provisions to increase unemployment benefit payments and provides incentives for states to expand the number of individuals who qualify for unemployment compensation.
In order to receive federal incentive funding of approximately $125 million, the Virginia General Assembly must permanently EXPAND our State UI law by passing two of the following four provisions:
1. It must provide benefits to former part-time workers who seek part-time work.
2. It must provide additional benefits (up to 26 weeks) to individuals who have exhausted their regular benefits but are enrolled in a state approved training program.
3. It must provide benefits for voluntary separations from work for “compelling family reasons.”
4. It must provide dependents allowances to UI recipients with children.
The Chamber OPPOSES SB1401 and all bills that permanently expand the UI law in Virginia in order to receive one time federal monies.
The Chambers SUPPORT a UI program that pays defined benefits to individuals who become unemployed through no fault of their own and who are available for and are looking for full-time work.
HB1498 (Ware) – banned thin plastic shopping bags in favor of durable bags designed for re-use. Delegate Ware’s bill was tabled in the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and National Resources Committee. The retail business community opposed the measure.
During the General Assembly session, please feel free to contact the Chamber’s governmental affairs team. Ira Agricola can be reached at 664-2570 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.You may contact Candace Reid at 664-2572 or at email@example.com to bring any business issue or concern to the attention of the Chamber