End of Session UpdateMay 31 | News
Another General Assembly session is in the books! It has been busy two months, but I am proud of the work I along with my colleagues in the House of Delegates were able to accomplish.
House and Senate Overwhelmingly Approve $1 Billion Tax Relief Package
Good News! Not only will you be protected from the Democrats middle-class tax increase thanks to Republicans in the House and Senate, but come October you will also receive a rebate check in the mail. This is in addition to any tax refund you will be receiving here in the next few months. Tax relief for the middle class was a significant priority of House Republicans this year, and I am proud that we were able to pass this legislation this year.
The legislation will provide $420 million to Virginia taxpayers later this year, in the form of tax rebates of $110 for individual filers and $220 for married couples. It raises the standard deduction by fifty percent beginning in tax year 2019, the first such change for individual filers since 1989. The bill also maintains the current rules for state and local taxes (SALT) and includes key provisions for job-creating businesses.
In total, the legislation will guarantee at least $976 million in tax relief and ensure that all additional revenues from the permanent provisions of federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are placed in the state’s cash reserve fund. The legislation also conforms Virginia tax law to the federal law, ensuring Virginians will be able to file their state taxes without complications this May.
I am proud to have voted to support this legislation. You sent me to Richmond to fight for lower taxes and to put more money back in your pocket. It has been a very successful session in that regard. I strongly urge Governor Northam to sign this legislation next week.
House of Delegates passes responsible and balanced budget amendments
This week we passed amendments to the two-year budget on that eliminates all spending based on higher taxes proposed by Governor Northam and includes additional investments in public education, school safety, higher education, and economic development. During the budget debate, we saw a fundamental difference between House Republicans and House Democrats, they want to spend excess revenues in an attempt to increase the size of government, while we believe the money should be returned to the taxpayers,
The budget also identifies $120 million in healthcare savings, strengthens taxpayer protections in the Medicaid forecasting process, eliminates unfunded liabilities and saves $729 million in state spending over the next quarter-century. The budget includes a record investment of nearly $19 million specifically for school safety. This budget doubles the funding for School Security Grant funding to $12 million and increases the award cap to $200,000 per grant application, increases funding for School Resource Officers by $3 million, and provides funding for school safety training at Virginia schools ($1.3 million) among other investments. The budget increases higher education funding by $54 million compared to the adopted budget and prioritizes higher education affordability by including $45 million to incentivize colleges and universities to hold tuition flat at 2019 levels. The budget also includes $5.2 million to increase Tuition Assistance Grant funding for students who attend Virginia’s private colleges and universities and provides $27.9 million to increase computer science degree production as part of the Tech Talent Pipeline Initiative.
This is a responsible budget that puts taxpayers first. We have also supported a tax plan that gives millions back to taxpayers. I hope our Democrat colleagues will realize you deserve to spend your own money, not government.
Completing work on the Budget
On Tuesday, we passed HB 1611, legislation to make it easier for middle-class students and families to afford college by lowering the price of Prepaid529 plans. The legislation will decrease the current cost of an eight-semester contract by more than $3,000.
Lowering the cost of college has long been a priority for Republicans in the House of Delegates. Virginia students borrow more than $1 billion per year to pay for college, a staggering burden that hurts our economy and makes it harder for young people to get started after college. This legislation will go a long way in helping middle-class students and families be able to afford a quality education at one of Virginia’s colleges or universities.
Currently, families pay a 10 percent “pricing reserve” on top of the semester contract prices. The pricing reserve is on top of the amount needed to pay future contract benefits and is used to mitigate risk to the fund. A June 2018 analysis by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC), found that Virginia’s Prepaid529 program is 138% funded and actuarially sound. This means that the program is more than capable of meeting all of its benefit commitments.
The legislation, introduced by Delegates Steve Landes and Tim Hugo, would cap the pricing reserve at five percent if the program is more than 105 percent funded, as it is currently. The program’s relatively high funded status and actuarial soundness prompted JLARC to recommend the General Assembly consider measures to improve program affordability. JLARC estimates that reducing the pricing reserve from 10% to 5% would lower the current cost of an 8-semester contract by more than $3,000.
This commonsense proposal will have a significant impact on families’ being able to keep more money in their pockets and attend college at a lower cost.
Update on My Bills
Throughout the legislative session, I’ve used these email updates to highlight several key pieces of legislation. Many of them passed both the House and Senate and are now awaiting action by the Governor.
In accordance with the Virginia Constitution, the Governor may either sign a bill into law, veto the bill, or send it back to the General Assembly with amendments.
- HB 1939 – This bill requires that regulatory boards return excess revenues to individuals that they regulate and reduce licensing fees for those individuals.
- Update: This bill passed the full House (97-1) and passed the Senate (36-2). This bill has been sent to the Governor for his signature.
- HB 1950 – Provides that, for purposes of the retail sales and use tax exemption for nonprofit organizations, the exemption is available to a single member limited liability company whose sole member is a nonprofit organization.
- Update: This bill has passed the full House (97-0) and passed the Senate (40-0). This bill has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.
- HB 2272 – Limited liability companies; Protected Series Act.
- Update: This bill passed the full House (99-0) and passed the Senate (40-0). This bill has been sent to the Governor for his signature.
- HB 2733 – Provides that, for purposes of the optional local personal property tax exemptions for motor vehicles, trucks, and tractors, the exemption shall apply if the vehicle is used primarily for agricultural purposes. Under current law, the exemption applies only if the vehicle is used exclusively for agricultural purposes.
- Update: This bill passed unanimously out of the full House (99-0) and passed the Senate (40-0). This bill has been sent to the Governor for his signature.
- HB 2811 – Adds to the duties of the Virginia Department of Health the duty of serving as a state certifying authority in determining conformity with state requirements for certain tax-exempt water pollution control projects. Under current law, the State Water Control Board is the only state certifying authority for water pollution projects. The bill contains an emergency clause.
- Update: This bill passed the unanimously out of the full House (99-0) and passed the Senate (40-0). This bill has been sent to the Governor for his signature.
- To view my complete legislative agenda, click this link: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?191+mbr+H247C