The Hampton Roads Chamber joined Chambers of Commerce and other business leaders from around the Commonwealth at Chamber Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, January 23. This annual Virginia Chamber of Commerce event provides Chamber executives with personal briefings from Virginia's top government leaders.
A major focus of the day’s discussion was tax reform. The Hampton Roads Chamber along with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Chambers throughout the Commonwealth has been actively pursuing pro-business tax policies. Hampton Roads Chamber leaders have been talking with legislators about the importance of ensuring a competitive tax environment for Virginia businesses as the Commonwealth conforms with federal tax law during this 43-day session.
Chamber Day at the Capitol included briefings from both Governor Ralph Northam and Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax. Both praised the state and local Chambers efforts to grow business and stated the Commonwealth’s economy is strong. During 2018, 41,000 new jobs were created through economic development and business growth. The unemployment rate in the Commonwealth is at the lowest point in 17 years at 2.8%.
The event included two panel discussions moderated byDr. Bob Holsworth, Managing Principal, DecideSmart. The House panel included The Honorable Todd Gilbert, Majority Leader, The Honorable Charniele Herring, Democrat Caucus Chair, The Honorable Tim Hugo, Republican Caucus Chair, and The Honorable Luke Torian. The Democrats spoke in support of the Governor’s plan to invest the State budget surplus. The Republicans spoke in favor of returning the money to businesses and individuals.
The Senate Panel included The Honorable Tommy Norment, Senate Majority Leader, The Honorable Rosalyn Dance, The Honorable Scott Surovell, and The Honorable SiobhanDunnavant. A key topic of discussion was healthcare reform. Dr. Dunnavent spoke in favor of adjusting the legislation regarding the pharmacy program that limits the number of companies able to deliver products and services in order to save the consumer money.
Both panels addressed the legislation to allow Casinos. House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert said, “This is the 400th year of the General Assembly and in the very first session, the vote was to outlaw gambling. We have time to study this.”
The General Assembly convened on January 9 and is scheduled to adjourn February 23. The Hampton Roads Chamber has staff and advocates in Richmond working to promote pro-business legislation throughout the entire session.