Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sandy Garst on Virginia General Assembly 2013

While I've been checking e-mail, working on the Yearbook, being sick, and generally making excuses for not doing this, Sandy Garst has completed a summary of Virginia General Assembly 2013 and the new laws you need to know about. The summary e-mailed to me included a beautiful, although preliminary, Scorecard...unfortunately it's formatted in Excel, which protects me from being tempted to post it before it's time. (Carol Stopps sent out a summary that rated our legislators' positions on only fifteen bills, which looks great in one of those nasty PDF files, but doesn't work in either Word, e-mail, or Blogspot formatting either.) Here, however, are Sandy Garst's notes on the General Assembly:



 *Important Reminder: As of 2010, each bill submitted costs approximately $3000-$5000 to process.*



·         48 bills concerning taxes were tracked. 

·         12 were incorporated into the massive HB 2313

·         Bills that passed include:

Ø  HB 1320, SB 698-Peanut Excise Tax:  According to Senator Hanger this tax was requested by peanut growers. The money goes into a fund used by “peanut growers and marketers to promote the use and sale of Virginia peanuts… The current tax expires this year and they want to extend it for 3 more years.”  Rick Morris, Louis Lucas  (Why can’t the peanut industry handle this on their own without a government sponsored tax and fund?  What costs are we paying for the administration of that fund in addition to the at least $6000 we pay each time they want to renew this tax?)

Ø  HB 1990 – License tax: Up to $250/year for not displaying Virginia tags.  Mark Sickles

Ø  SB 1038 – Mopeds, etc.:  It will now cost $14 to title your moped; it must have a license plate; you must wear a face shield, goggles, or safety glasses; and you must carry government issued photo id.  Stephen Newman

·         24 failed, including:

Ø  HB 1381 – 5 cent plastic bag tax.  Failure of the retailer to collect and remit the tax would lead to up to a $1000 fine for the third offense.  Joseph Morrissey

Ø  HB 1457 – Reinstating the Estate Tax with the revenues “used for funding the Medicaid cost of meeting staffing standards in nursing homes required to be established under the bill,” and  “five percent of the remaining revenues shall be used to fund home-based and community-based services to enable older adults and people with disabilities to remain in home settings.” Vivian Watts

Ø  HB 1804 and SB 919 – A 3% uranium severance tax.  Jackson Miller, John Watkins



·         10 bills concerning fees were tracked.

·         A bill that passed:

Ø  HB 1583 – The maximum annual fee to register a vacant building has been raised from $25 to $100. Failing to register will cost $200 or $400 if in a conservation district. Rosalyn Dance

·         7 failed, including:

Ø  HB 1974 – a bill to increase the cost of state safety inspections to $24.  Tony Wilt

Ø  HB 1352 – a bill to increase costs of copying medical records.  Gregory Habeeb


Funds/Grants: (I oppose all grants and most funds. Funds should only be for essential government functions.)

·         28 bills concerning funds and/or grants were tracked.

·         Bills that passed include:

Ø  HB 1757 Aquatic Resources Improvements Fund; established – Agenda 21 wetland mitigation banking. (DEQ anticipates requiring one position at an annual cost of $80,000 for salary and benefits.) Edward Scott

Ø  HB 1845, SB 1178 Fraud and Abuse Whistle Blower Reward Fund; amount of reward – payment for tattling.  Manoli Loupassi, Frank Ruff

·         16 failed, including:

Ø  HB 1324 Efficiency Evaluation Fund; established, grants to localities. Rick Morris

Ø  HB 1651 Unified Innovation Fund; created. Rob Krupicka

Ø  HB 1854 Prisons; telephone systems.  Patrick Hope

Ø  HB 1968 Governor's Development Opportunity Fund; expands eligibility for grants. Matthew James

Ø  HB 1970 Exemplary Teacher Grant Fund; created.  David Yancey

Ø  HB 2067 Virginia Alternative Fuels Revolving Fund. Charles Poindexter

Ø  HB 2232 Problem Gambling Treatment Fund established. Thomas Greason

Ø  SB 1151 Virginia Student Achievement Fund; established.  George Barker

Ø  SB 1283 Virginia Recreational Facilities Authority Fund. Stephen Newman

Ø  SB 748 Building Revitalization Grant Fund; created, report.  (“The amount of funding to capitalize the fund is indeterminate; however, this bill establishes a cap on the aggregate amount of grants awarded and outstanding at any time at $1.0 million. DHCD estimates that for a $1.0 million program, the agency will require an annual general fund appropriation of $30,000.”) William Stanley


Authorities:  (Which will need Funds)

·         Two new Agenda 21 Authorities were created:

Ø  HB 1790, SB 1138 Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium.  Scott Garrett, Jeff McWaters

Ø  SB 819 Tourist Train Development Authority; created. Phil Puckett


Tax Credits/Exemptions:  (I oppose all tax credits/exemptions. They serve as a method for the government to manipulate behavior. They are a waste of tax dollars.)

·         43 bills concerning tax credits were tracked.

·         Bills that passed include:

Ø  HB 1398 Land preservation tax credit; unissued tax credits. (“For the 2013 calendar year, the appropriation to be recommended under this bill would be $13,909,000, to be distributed as follows: $11,127,200 to the Virginia Land Conservation Fund (at least $5,563,600 of which must be used for fee simple acquisitions with public access or acquisitions of easements with public access); $1,390,900 to the Civil War Site Preservation Fund, and $1,390,900 to the Virginia Farmland Preservation Fund.”) Lee Ware

Ø  HB 1586, SB 1065 Arts and cultural districts, local; tax incentives.(“… the bill would result in a decrease in local revenue, the magnitude of which is unknown.”  Randall Minchew,Mark Herring

Ø  HB 1699 Personal property tax, tangible; computer equipment and peripherals used in data centers. (“…the bill would decrease local revenues by an unknown amount.) Barbara Comstock

Ø  HB 1824 Virginia port volume increase tax credit. (This bill would have no revenue impact…the credit cap would remain at $3.2 million.) Harry Purkey

Ø  HB 1923 Worker retraining tax credit; increase in credit amount. (“…unknown negative General Fund revenue impact. Although this tax credit is capped at $2.5 million annually, the amount of tax credits currently claimed is significantly below this amount.) David Yancey

·         27 failed, including:

Ø  HB 1303 Small businesses; tax credit for hiring graduates of Virginia's public colleges and universities. (Revenue Impact: Could not exceed $2 million in a fiscal year.) Charniele Herring

Ø  HB 1304 Income tax, corporate; credit for contracting with small or minority-owned, etc., businesses. (The maximum negative revenue impact in one fiscal year could not exceed the $10 million cap.) Gregory Habeeb

Ø  HB 1336 Tax credit for employees who telework. (Revenue Impact: $1 million each fiscal year.) David Ramadan

Ø  HB 1370 Small businesses; creates an individual and corporate tax credit for those creating new jobs. (Revenue Impact: “This bill would have an unknown, but potentially significant, negative impact on General Fund revenues for Fiscal Years 2014 through 2016. The tax credit proposed by this bill would have no cap.”) Dickie Bell

Ø  HB 1523 Retail Sales and Use Tax; exemption includes hurricane preparedness equipment. (Revenue Impact: “ the proposed exemption could potentially decrease annual revenues by $11,000.) R. Villanueva

Ø  HB 1694 Land preservation tax credits; application for credits prior to any donation. (“To be able to provide preapproval for credit applications of $1 million or more that require verification by DCR, the Department would incur administrative costs…The Department’s costs for reviewing such applications would be $120,220 in Fiscal Year 2013 and $228,640 annually in Fiscal Year 2014 and thereafter. Randall Minchew

Ø  HB 1800 Land preservation tax credit; property conveyances for public use. Lynwood Lewis

Ø  HB 1831 Tax incentives for beginning businesses.  (Estimated General Fund Loss: 2014-$3.5 million, 2015-$2.5million, 2016 and 2017-$2.6 million, etc.) Scott Lingamfelter

Ø  HB 1834 High Performance Building Act; use of certain forest products. (“The bill has the potential to limit competition and increase construction costs…”) Charles Poindexter

Ø  HB 1916 Solar thermal system tax credit. (Expenditure Impact- $62,220/year 2013-2019; Revenue Impact - $6.2 million total for same period.) Scott Surovell

Ø  HB 2282 Tax credit for removing barriers at places of public accommodation. Revenue Impact- $1 million/year) Kenneth Plum

Ø  SB 1302 Tax credit for employees who telework. (Revenue Impact - $2 million/year for 5 years) Bill Stanley