General Assembly Update – Week 2
The first full week of the 2023 General Assembly included Virginia Chamber Day, the first meeting of the Hampton Roads Caucus for the year, and progress on several pieces of legislation that impact the Chamber members.
Several hundred Chamber members from around the state met this week to hear from leaders in the General Assembly. Highlights from those remarks include:
- Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears, a former employee of the Hampton Roads Chamber, who spoke on the importance of focusing on the needs of small business owners.
- Portsmouth Delegate and Minority Leader for the House Democratic Caucus discussed the importance of supporting workforce development initiatives, citing his own wife’s business as an example of a small business struggling to hire employees.
- Senator Monty Mason, who carried the Healthcare Benefits Consortium legislation for the Virginia Chamber, said he thinks members will start to see the benefits of this legislation by mid-2023 as details of the plans are finalized. This legislation enables small businesses to pool their risk and achieve a scale similar to large employer plans.
The Hampton Roads Caucus, led by Chesapeake Senator Lionel Spruill, met this week to hear a briefing from RVA757 Connects and the Hampton Roads Chamber. The focus of the briefings included supporting budget amendments to support workforce development and site-ready grants to assist local government in economic development and to continue moving forward the expansion of Interstate 64 between Richmond and Williamsburg.
Legislation has been introduced to support the integration of Old Dominion University and Eastern Virginia Medical School. If the integration moves forward it would bring together ODU, EVMS, Sentara and CHKD, as well as Norfolk State University and Tidewater Community College in a partnership to serve the region. The projected outcomes include creating a workforce pipeline to meet the areas healthcare needs as well as mitigating healthcare disparities.
Senator Spruill indicated that he and members of the Caucus would be working with the presenters on these issues. “These are very important issues to Hampton Roads and we are excited about the potential benefits that they could bring to businesses and residents in our region,” Spruill said.
Legislatively here are a few highlights of legislation we have supported this week:
- Three bills reported out of House Finance Committee this week and will be voted on in House of Delegates next week. Two of them deal with the tax decreases mentioned in last week’s update and the third deals with corporate tax filings.
- HB 2319 would lower the top income tax rate from 5.75% to 5.5%
- HB 2138 would reduce the corporate income tax from 6% to 5%.
- The Virginia Filing Election Flexibility Act would give additional flexibility to companies on selecting a filing method. Corporations that pay corporate income taxes in Virginia have the option to file using the separate or consolidated method. Once a selection is made, they are locked into it for at least 12 years, but possibly longer under current requirements. If passed, this legislation would provide additional options to corporations for filing taxes.
Each member of the General Assembly can submit budget amendments to be considered by the appropriations and finance committees. This week those requests were published. The chamber will be supporting many of the amendments as they move through the process. One of the amendments is at the request of one of our members Dr. Antipas Harris.
The budget amendment was submitted by Delegate Angela Williams-Graves to support the “Wholeness Social Support Initiative” in the amount of $1.6 million. The goal of this initiative is to establish a wholeness-based network and support system for survivors of violence-related trauma in South Hampton Roads. This program will offer one step in supporting people on a road to recovery after a traumatic event.
Vice President of Governmental Affairs
|Sunday, February 5||House Appropriations and Senate Finance & Appropriations
Committees to complete action on Budget Bills.
|Tuesday, February 7||Crossover (last day for each house to act on its own legislation,
except Budget Bills)Amendments to Budget Bills available
|Thursday, February 9||Houses of origin to complete action on Budget Bills|
|Wednesday, February 15||Last day to act on Budget Bills and revenue bills of
other house and appoint conferees
|Monday, February 20||Last day for committee action on remaining bills|
|Thursday, February 23||Last day to act on remaining bills and appoint conferees|
|Saturday, February 25||Session adjourns sine die|
|Monday, March 27||Last day for Governor’s action on legislation|
|Wednesday, April 12||Reconvened session|