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Hampton Roads Chamber Legislative Review - January 18, 2019

Hampton Roads Chamber Legislative Review - January 18, 2019
Hampton Roads Chamber Legislative Review - January 18, 2019
Hampton Roads Chamber Legislative Review - January 18, 2019
This week marks the second week of the General Assembly, The Federal "shutdown" is costing Virginia $7 Million a week. State Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne also told lawmakers that if the shutdown continues, Virginia could lose $100 Million Per month the Commonwealth has to finance food stamps. Check out this week's Legislative Review.

Legislative Review

Oppose SB 1200 – The Hampton Roads Chamber joined a large business coalition in opposition to SB 1200 this week.

SB 1200 Summary: Proposes to increase the minimum wage from its current federally mandated level of $7.25 per hour to $10/per hour (by July 1, 2019), to $13/per hour (by July 1, 2020), and to $15/per hour (by July 1, 2021).

  • Myth #1         Businesses can sustain mandated higher wages

Fact:  Raising the minimum wage disproportionally hits small businesses.  Census Bureau data shows that the majority of minimum wage employees do not work at large corporations with 1000+ employees.  In fact, nearly half of minimum wage earners work at small businesses with fewer than 100 employees.  Studies show nearly half of the predicted job losses will occur in food service and retail industries.


Small businesses are the least able to absorb such a dramatic increase in their labor costs.  In fact, many of them will be left with two options – 1) pass along the increased costs to their customers.  Or, 2) reduce hours or positions.

  • Myth #2         Raising the minimum wage won’t reduce jobs

Fact:  According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, a $9 national minimum wage would cost 100,000 jobs; a $10.10 minimum wage would cost a half-million jobs.


According to new analysis using the same methodology as the CBO, it concludes that 770,000 jobs would be lost nationwide if a $12 minimum wage were enacted – Virginia loses 24,223 jobs.  It will only be more with a $15/hour minimum wage.


A new survey conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center asks economists about their reaction to a $15 minimum wage.  It finds that 72 percent of U.S. based economists oppose a $15 federal minimum wage.


The survey asks several additional questions that shed light on this topline finding.  Five out of six respondents (83 percent) said that a $15 federal minimum wage would have harmful effects on youth employment levels.  Three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents said that a $15 minimum wage would have a negative effect on the number of jobs available.  Two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents said that a $15 minimum wage would make it more difficult for small businesses to stay in business.

Tax Issue the Top General Assembly Priority

Update – All Virginia House of Delegates tax bills have been assigned to the House Rules Committee.  This is significant in as much as the House Speaker chairs the Committee and the Rules Committee can meet when called by the Speaker.  The House Rules Committee is comprised of 11 Republicans and 6 Democrats.

Early Republican leadership consensus in the House of Delegates is supporting House Bill 2529 (Hugo R-40th).  Delegate Hugo has worked closely with various business interests in the Commonwealth to include tax provisions important to business.

House Finance Chair Vivian Watts (D 39th) has introduced tax policy legislation that supports the Governor’s proposal to transfer income to the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Additional News from the General Assembly

  • Former Judge Patricia West of Regent University in Virginia Beach was elected as the newest judge on the State Corporation Commission.
  • The Senate Finance Committee voted 13-0 to approve Senator Frank Ruff’s bill that provides a $550 million package to support Amazon’s $2.5 billion headquarters in Arlington County.  The House appointed a new appropriations sub-committee to handle the Amazon package.
  • Bills that would have added a 5 cents tax to plastic bags have failed to advance.  Senator Chip Peterson (D 34th) and Senator Adam Ebbin (D 30th) sponsored the legislation.
  • The Federal “shutdown” is costing Virginia $7 million a week.  State Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne also told lawmakers that if the shutdown continues, Virginia could lose $100 million per month the Commonwealth has

to finance food stamps.

  • Virginia Senate passed the ERA resolution by a 26-14 vote.  Seven Republicans joined all 19 Senate Democrats in supporting the resolution to ratify the federal Equal Rights Amendment.  Virginia would become the 38th and final state to ratify the amendment.
  • Bristol, Portsmouth and Danville legislators have joined forces to support legislation to allow casino gambling to help create jobs and boost the economies of those cities.  Senator Carrico (R 40th) and Senator Lucas (D 18th) joined members of the House of Delegates to push for new state laws.  Proponents stated that such operations would generate $100 million in local revenue and create 16,000 jobs.  The joint legislation would allow citizen referendums in Bristol, Danville and Portsmouth.

Proffer Updates

HB 2342 (Thomas R 28th) and HB 1801 (Ware R 65th) have advanced to the full committee for consideration. After considerable negotiations between the building/ development community and the localities, it is anticipated these bills will be passed.


School Safety Updates

The following bills have advanced from the House Education Committee:

HB 1725 (Knight R 81st) – procurement plans in compliance with building and fire codes.

HB 1729 (Landes R 25th) – mandatory minimum ratio of staffing time for school counselors.

HB 1732 (O’Quinn R 5th) – annual emergency drill.

HB 1733 (Gilbert R 15th) - M.O.U. with local law enforcement.

HB 1738 (Rush R 7th) – approval of new design that incorporates crime prevention.

HB 1752 (Krizek D 44th) – Election Day established as school holiday.

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