VA West 2019 Legislative Agenda
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION
VA West recognizes the vital importance of maintaining and developing new and innovative workforce and job development programs to enhance and attract human capital. VA WEST SUPPORTS:
- Continued funding and support of the New Economy Workforce Credentials Act
- Funding for an awareness campaign of the advantages of CTE and credentials to aid in implementation of HB1552, mandating local school boards to notify parents and students of available CTE programs.
- Initiatives that strengthen guidance department knowledge and promotion of regional in-demand jobs, as well as collaboration with the Virginia Board of Workforce Development and the Virginia Board of Education, to promote CTE opportunities beginning in middle school or earlier.
- Efforts to improve coordination between Virginia’s employers and job training programs.
- Regional Career and Technical Governors Schools in our VA West coalition communities.
- The Profile of a Virginia Graduate pathway for high school students.
- Emphasis on STEM-H courses in K-12 and Virginia’s colleges and universities.
Transportation is a core service of government that is critical for economic development and facilitating the efficient delivery of goods and services. The Commonwealth must remain pro-active in meeting the challenge of growing demand on its aging infrastructure. VA WEST SUPPORTS:
- Greater consideration of transportation funding alignment to meet economic development needs in Western VA.
- Timely expansion of passenger rail from Lynchburg to Bedford and the Roanoke and New River Valleys, and continued exploration of expansion to Bristol as originally outlined in the 1998 Bristol Rail Passenger Study conducted by VDRPT.
- Continued exploration of innovative funding mechanisms and additional SMART SCALE weighting to help Western Virginia compete with Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads for transportation dollars.
- Feasibility study of an inland port in in the VA West region.
- Initiatives on air service to expand service at regional airports in Western Virginia.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND REGIONAL COOPERATION
VA West is strongly committed to results-oriented programs that attract investment in technology infrastructure, enhance regional economic development planning and workforce training, and promote cooperative city and county efforts to maintain or attract job growth to the Piedmont, Southside, Southwestern, and Western Virginia. VA WEST SUPPORTS:
- Support for the GO Virginia Initiative and project proposals that support workforce development efforts.
- Constitutional amendment codifying Virginia as a right-to-work state.
- The promotion of public-private partnerships to expand broadband and telecommunication services across the commonwealth to support economic development, telework, telemedicine, and tele-education access to underserved populations.
- Policies that promote efficient and long-term public-private partnerships.
- Funding for economic development programs available through the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
- Tax reform:
- Restructure Business, Professional, and Occupational License (BPOL) tax fairly based on net income instead of gross receipts
- State initiatives to ensure businesses aren’t overpaying their BPOL tax
- Creation of an alternative revenue source to offset locality reliance on BPOL taxes
- Strengthened e-commerce tax measures with consideration of the Wyoming model in fairness to brick-and-mortar businesses and to sustain a sufficient sales tax base to fund core government services.
- Expanded incentives for angel and venture capital investments in Virginia businesses and increased funding to commercialize regional research spinoff and startup businesses
VA West remains concerned about the uncertainty surrounding the implementation of the PPACA and its impact on Virginia’s business community. VA West supports efforts to reform Virginia’s Medicaid program and continued dialogue on market oriented approaches for accessing federal funds under the PPACA. VA West believes steps must be taken to limit the shifting of uncompensated care onto the business community and other unsubsidized users of Virginia’s hospitals and health care providers. VA WEST SUPPORTS:
- Recognizing that Medicaid is the fastest growing component of the state budget, a continued dialogue between state and federal lawmakers on flexibilities surrounding the expansion of Medicaid in the Commonwealth.
- Legislation that promotes personal responsibility expands affordable health insurance coverage options for employers and improves quality and access to health care while also eliminating waste and abuse.
- Initiatives and additional resources to address the future of mental-health treatment in the Commonwealth.
About VA West
VA WEST is business and legislative coalition comprised of 14 chambers in central, southside, and western Virginia, representing over 4,500 businesses and covering over 8,000 square miles. VA WEST supports public policies that strengthen free enterprise and regional collaboration efforts that promote economic development.
- Bedford Area Chamber
- Botetourt County Chamber
- Charlottesville Regional Chamber
- Danville/Pittsylvania Chamber
- Greater Augusta Regional Chamber
- Greater Bluefield Chamber
- Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber
- Lexington-Rockbridge County
- Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance
- Martinsville & Henry County Chamber
- Montgomery County Chamber
- Roanoke Regional Chamber
- Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber
- Wytheville, Wythe, Bland Chamber