News and Notes from the Virginia General Assembly
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Legislator of the Week – Delegate Bob Purkey
Each week, the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce selects a “Legislator of the Week” and invites him/her to highlight key pieces of legislation that is important to the Hampton Roads business community. Below is Delegate Purkey’s explanation of HB512, Machinery and Tool Tax.
According to VEDP statistics, Virginia manufacturers' annual investment and job creation between 2004 and 2008 averaged $1.89 Billion and 8,180 respectively. Unfortunately, during 2009 and 2011, this annual average dropped significantly to only $921 million invested and 4,905 jobs created.
According to Delegate Bob Purkey (R) of Virginia Beach, who has been trying for three years to get his Machinery and Tool Tax legislation (HB512) passed, “Economists nationwide recognize that the manufacturing industry is leading the U.S. out of its malaise, so we need to make sure Virginia is leading in new investments and job creation. By exempting the Machinery and Tools tax for the first three years and only on new Machinery and Tools purchased after July 1, 2012, manufacturers around Virginia and the globe will recognize that we are serious about growing advanced manufacturing. Localities will also immediately benefit from engineering, construction, testing, environmental controls, legal costs and more associated with new investments made, as well as being able to project future revenues after the limited exemption is over."
"This legislation is good for the immediate and future economic development of Virginia".
~ Delegate Bob Purkey (R) of Virginia Beach
Party ID Bill Defeated
SB56, introduced by Senator Obenshain, was defeated on a 25-14 vote. The bill would require candidates running for local office to be identified on ballots by party label. The Chambers oppose local elections being partisan. HB769, introduced by Delegate Landes, was defeated in House Privileges and Elections on a 12-10 vote. This bill would have also required a party label on local candidates.
The Senate Privileges and Elections Committee approved SJ3 introduced by Senator Obenshain, on a 13-2 vote. The bill revises the prohibition on the enactment by the General Assembly of laws whereby private property may be taken or damaged. An existing provision authorizing the General Assembly to define what constitutes a public use is removed. The proposed amendment provides that private property can be taken or damaged only for a public use, only with just compensation to the owner, and only so much taken as is necessary for the public use. Just compensation must equal or exceed the value of the property taken, lost profits and lost access, and damages to the residue caused by the taking.
An identical bill introduced by Delegate Bell (HJ3) passed in the 2011 General Assembly session. As a constitutional amendment, it must be passed this year in the exact language to be placed on the November ballot. Concerns have surfaced over the future costs of “lost profits” and “lost access”, two rights that would be in the Constitution of Virginia should these measures pass and be supported by votes in November.
Workers Compensation Bills Defeated
Two bills that would have extended worker’s compensation benefits were defeated recently. SB328, introduced by Senator Carrico, would have defined certain diseases as “line of duty” diseases for law enforcement. HB661, introduced by Delegate Surovell, provides that workers' compensation benefits shall not be reduced for a disabled employee who refuses employment if he is receiving benefits under the Line of Duty Act and such acceptance would cause the cessation of his Line of Duty benefits.
Tax Bill Opposed
HB1267, introduced by Delegate Scott, requires mandatory unitary combined reporting for companies with multiple business units to file a single state tax return. The Chambers oppose this bill.
Unemployment Insurance Surcharge
Within the budget bills, there is a proposed “administrative surcharge” or tax of $1.36 per employee on all of Virginia’s employers. The purpose of the tax is to pay down $4 million in interest on funds borrowed from the Federal Government. The Chambers oppose this tax.
House Passes Post Labor Day Bill
HB1063 passed by the House of Delegates last week by a 76-63 vote. The bill would make local school boards responsible for setting the school calendar and determining the opening of the school year. It eliminates the post-Labor Day opening requirement and "good cause" scenarios for which the Board of Education may grant waivers of this requirement.
The Chambers continue to actively oppose any changes to current Labor Day law, and we would like to thank those Senators and Delegates who understand the important role that tourism plays in economic development: Senator Lucas; Senator McWaters; Senator J. Miller; Senator Northam; Delegate Cosgrove; Delegate Helsel; Delegate Iaquinto; Delegate Joannou; Delegate Jones; Delegate Knight; Delegate Lewis; Delegate Pogge; Delegate Spruill; Delegate Villanueva and Delegate Watson.
Two-Year College Scholarship Match Program
SB 100 which provides for a two-year college scholarship match program for students enrolled in certain programs (predominantly science and math) at Virginia’s Community Colleges. The bill passed the Senate unanimously 40 – 0.
Three other bills concerning adult education that would benefit both Virginia workers and Virginia businesses: HB321 (introduced by Delegate Massie) and SB241 (introduced by Senator Obenshain) would provide a tax credit to businesses for providing education improvement scholarships. HB720 (introduced by Delegate Yancey) would provide for an increase in current tax credits for worker retraining courses are all currently in committee.
Tax Credits for Businesses
Five of the proposed bills would provide tax credits to businesses. HB335 (introduced by Delegate Villanueva), HB585 (introduced by Delegate Merricks) and SB344 (introduced by Senator McDougle) would provide an income tax deduction for investors of small businesses. HB1041 (introduced by Delegate Keam), would provide tax credits of up to $1,000 for hiring military veterans. SB68 (introduced by Senator Stanley), would provide tax credits for industrial building rehabilitation. The bills are all currently in committee.
Click here for a comprehensive list of bills your Chamber is tracking.