Week 22022 Legislative Session January 24th - 28th
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Week 2 Summary
This week the Northern Virginia Chamber hosted our annual Lobby Day and Viva Virginia legislative reception for the first time since 2020. Thank you to our members who made the trip down to Richmond.
Lobby Day was packed with legislator meetings – Speaker Todd Gilbert, Del. Mark Keam, Sen. Dick Saslaw, House Appropriations Chairman Barry Knight, and incoming Virginia Labor Sec. Bryan Slater. We took the opportunity to talk a lot about the Chamber’s Greater Washington Apprentice Network and shared with the Labor Secretary some ideas on how to get workforce development moving in Virginia. He talked about the vast number of workforce development programs at the state level and his desire to make them and make the state’s whole system of workforce development work better. His department is already working on Gov. Youngkin’s regulatory reduction executive actions mentioned in last week’s update.
Viva Virginia was a great time as well, and we had a great showing of legislators as well as Attorney General Jason Miyares. Big thanks to Tammy Deen our programs director who helped put the party together. Thanks to our premier partners DelTek and Verizon. And big thanks as well to our co-hosts the Arlington Chamber and the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce.
Update on Legislation
As with the last update, things are continuing to move rather slowly in Richmond. We are only two weeks plus a couple days from crossover – when all the House bills go to the Senate and vice versa – so I imagine things are going to really pick up steam next week.
Bills carried by Sen. Jennifer Boysko and Del. David Reid would move the Greenway, a privately owned toll road connecting Loudoun to the Dulles Toll Road – from the Highway Corporation Act to the Public-Private Transportation Act (essentially converting it to a P3). The bill does not prescribe any specific arrangement but rather sets up what would likely be a multi-year negotiation to establish a new relationship between the road and the state under the PPTA. Ultimately, the goal is to lower the tolls through adoption of distance-based tolling. The road as it is today is underutilized because high tolls have pushed commuters onto other free roadways like Route 7 and Route 28/I-66. There have been attempts to force the Greenway to lower tolls, and last year legislation was approved to require annual rate approvals by the SCC much like a utility. In short the Chamber believes that if there was a workable solution outside of the PPTA we would have found it by now so moving it to a P3 is the best way forward. The administration is interested in the bill and Sec. Miller was at the hearing. The bill was passed by in Senate Transportation yesterday to allow the administration to review it, but it’s got some good support. The House companion is likely up next week.
Data Centers taxing structure
The data centers bill was approved by the House Finance Committee this week. This bill would establish a uniform taxing structure for data centers in Virginia, helping to ensure Virginia remains the top destination for this important industry.
Tax conformity and Paycheck Protection Program deductibility
There are a couple bills introduced that would extend the deductibility of PPP and Rebuild VA loans. I understand the goal of House Republicans and the Governor is to raise the threshold to $1M for 2020 loans and conform to federal rules for 2021 when some small second draw loans were made. This will take some effort in the Senate and passed the House Finance Committee on a party line vote.
SB 251 Northern Virginia Transportation Authority; pedestrian and bicyclist projects.
After changing the bill following hearing broad concerns, Sen. Surovell has decided to ask for information on the cost of improving bike and pedestrian access to Metro stations, the underlying reason for his original bill in addition to improving safety.
G3 Tax Credit
A bill to give employers a $1000 tax credit per employee hired from G3 program failed in subcommittee on a party line vote.
The Gas Tax
No word yet on gas tax. As last week’s update said, it is unlikely anything will come out of the Senate on this but we will watch closely.