Public Policy / Advocacy
What We’re Doing for You… reduced school funding, Herndon's Metro Plan, a Bridge to Maryland and more….
ADVOCACY: When General Assembly is in session, bills affecting business are flying across many desks—including ours. Here are some that deserve your attention: Eminent Domain Constitutional Amendment, Healthcare proposal for An All-Payers Claims Database, K-12 funding reductions, project labor agreements, and a new STEM initiative.
On Wednesday, January 15th, our Chamber will take a delegation down to General Assembly, where we will meet with the Governor and his leadership and call on our Northern Virginia legislators to share our positions with them. If you would like to join our delegation, please contact Eileen Curtis at 571-323-5301.
Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce
2013 Public Policy Position Paper
The Northern Virginia Chamber Partnership is collaboration between the Dulles Regional, Greater Reston and Loudoun County chambers of commerce. The Partnership collectively represents more than 2,800 businesses and 100,000 jobs, providing an unparalleled voice for Northern Virginia’s business community in Richmond at a time when supporting pro-business policy is more critical than ever to our businesses and our economy. The following provides additional details on the Partnership’s focus for the 2013 General Assembly session.
TAXES AND REGULATORY POLICY
The Northern Virginia Chamber Partnership supports the substantive reform of Virginia’s tax and revenue system to more closely align the source of the Commonwealth’s tax revenues with the spending priorities of state and local governments. The Partnership believes that all tax policies must be assessed against the potential impact on Virginia’s economic growth and viability, and not based solely on anticipated revenues.
The Partnership believes the state must invest in essential infrastructure that is critical to the economic health of the revenue-producing regions in Virginia in order to enable the success in these regions that benefits the entire Commonwealth. Specifically, the Partnership believes high growth areas, like those in Northern Virginia, should have greater access to the income tax revenue generated by its citizens to support the increased costs associated with that growth, such as building new schools and roads, and paying the salaries of teachers and public safety personnel.
The Partnership supports regulatory policies that emphasize the importance of strong economic growth, while ensuring rules are cost-effective and based on valid scientific and technical data. The Partnership opposes unfunded mandates or policy positions, particularly those that would require Virginia’s businesses and other taxpayers to fund the long-term costs of these mandates.
The Partnership opposes arbitrary efforts to limit or suspend growth and economic development, and opposes excessive and inconsistent regulations placed on business development or expansion. The Partnership supports the periodic review and revision of the processes by which state government permits and regulates business activities. Existing requirements that do not contribute to meaningful improvement of the application or proposal under consideration must be streamlined or eliminated where appropriate. The Partnership also supports efforts to encourage business growth through streamlining government review processes.
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
The Northern Virginia Chamber Partnership supports energy independence through every means available that does not do meaningful damage to the environment. The Partnership supports programs that meet the energy needs of current and future citizens. As such, we encourage the development of new energy sources and expansion of electricity generation and transmission. Renewable energy, as well as increased energy conservation and efficiency, also should be included in the Commonwealth’s energy portfolio. In addition, we seek policies that support technology neutrality.
The Partnership supports initiatives that can reduce energy use while contributing to the environmental goals outlined in the Virginia Energy Plan. Such initiatives include development of new energy sources, alternative energy, green buildings, transit-oriented development, and an increase in energy-related research and development. We also support “green” initiatives throughout our region through use of incentives and market-driven policies that promote voluntary compliance.
The Partnership also supports policies that provide appropriate incentives – including, but not limited, to tax credits, development densities, fast track permitting approval and other measures that are competitive with those offered in surrounding jurisdictions – specifically for businesses that invest in environmentally sustainable building designs and systems.
The Northern Virginia Chamber Partnership believes Virginia should invest additional financial and personnel resources to fund a more aggressive and comprehensive national and international marketing program that leverages the Commonwealth’s strongest economic assets, including industry sectors where Virginia possesses a clear competitive advantage.
The Partnership encourages the General Assembly to invest fully in the various business incentive programs to encourage businesses to invest in Virginia. Furthermore, the Partnership supports the continued funding of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) incentive programs, as well as significant increases to the Governor’s Opportunity Fund, and policies that broaden the eligibility requirements enabling those firms that increase local tax revenues to qualify for economic development incentives.
The Partnership encourages the VEDP to develop state incentive programs that focus on company retention and recruitment, and give greater priority within these incentive programs to encourage the creation of higher paying jobs, like those in Northern Virginia.
TOURISM AND BUSINESS TRAVEL
Because of the economic advantages offered by a robust visitor and conference industry, the Northern Virginia Chamber Partnership supports an integrated, well funded approach to marketing Virginia as a visitor destination. We believe the Commonwealth’s destination marketing and funding strategy must place high priority on those activities that generate the most tax revenue, while creating economic opportunities for businesses in the visitor and conference industry.
The Northern Virginia Chamber Partnership recognizes the importance of and supports all of the colleges and universities, both public and private, which provide high quality undergraduate, graduate and professional education to Northern Virginia’s residents. The Partnership supports positioning the Commonwealth’s public and private higher education institutions to play a full role in shaping job creation in a global knowledge-based economy, and calls on the Commonwealth’s elected leaders to reverse a decade of reduction in state funding for higher education that has shifted the burden of funding to students and families.
The Partnership believes, however, that any new state investment must be targeted toward specific goals that will provide the best return on investment for every dollar spent, including:
- Awarding 70,000 more high quality degrees to Virginia residents over the next 10 years. Virginia’s economy needs more of its citizens prepared to take jobs in the diverse knowledge-based economy. Increasing the number of degrees awarded by 70,000 would mean that 50% of Virginia’s citizens would have an associate, bachelors or graduate degree.
- Targeting new degrees in high income, high demand job sectors. Virginia’s economy will depend on increasing the number of workers able to take on jobs in high demand fields of technology, engineering, science and math, and in areas experiencing shortages, like healthcare, which is particularly important in Northern Virginia.
- Expanding job-specific training at community colleges. The chambers in the Partnership have long supported Northern Virginia Community College’s (NVCC) efforts in job-specific training and believes this unique resource should be expanded and enhanced via more consistent state funding.
- Increasing public-private collaboration for university-based research. Innovation drives the Northern Virginia economy. Northern Virginia businesses need an expanded way to interact with the area’s higher education institutions to produce and commercialize original research. The Commonwealth remains one of the few states that do not have dedicated funding for technology transfer. University-based research can only be brought to market quickly if the Commonwealth supports it.
- Making colleges affordable for low- and middle-income students and families. Northern Virginia enjoys a diverse citizen base. The Commonwealth and our higher education institutions must do more to encourage a greater number of students to seek education beyond high school. The cost of education should not be a barrier to getting a degree. Financial aid is a key ingredient in this affordability challenge. Without increases in state-funded financial aid, access and affordability remain a problem.
The Northern Virginia Chamber Partnership recognizes that housing policy is an essential factor in economic development and supports the following initiatives to address the workforce needs in Northern Virginia:
- Adopt the recommendations of Governor McDonnell’s Housing Policy task force to increase the availability of housing options to meet the needs of a growing regional workforce;
- Use of federal, state and local incentives, such as tax credit programs, to maximize the production of affordable and workforce housing in high-density development and/or transit centers.
Completion of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project to Washington Dulles International Airport and eastern Loudoun County, and securing additional federal, state and private-sector funding to reduce projected toll increase levels associated with the project.
The Dulles Regional Chamber recognizes the importance of the healthcare industry to the economy and the community, and supports federal and state reimbursement levels that do not harm providers or result in a shift of the payment burden to the private sector. The Chamber supports the continued introduction and expansion of healthcare facilities in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties to increase the availability of quality healthcare services for business owners, employees and their families.
The Chamber supports collaborative efforts between healthcare stakeholders, including providers, purchasers, insurers and consumers, to ensure continued innovation and creativity in the private marketplace. The goals of these efforts should include the following:
- Expand healthcare infrastructure (both inpatient and outpatient);
- Manage healthcare costs impacting businesses;
- Increase accessibility of healthcare and insurance;
- Diminish complexity in healthcare;
- Enhance choice and transparency;
- Plan appropriately for emergency preparedness and foster public-private partnerships to address pandemic preparedness
- Expand services offered by safety net healthcare providers so all residents have access to healthcare.
The Chamber specifically supports legislation that ensures access to group health insurance for all businesses, including sole proprietors and businesses with few employees. The Chamber supports legislation that reduces state burdens and provides tax incentives to help small businesses offset the staggering increases in health insurance costs, including incentives that encourage participation in “consumer-driven” healthcare plans. These plans not only can increase the number of catastrophically insured, but also put the individual end-users back in control of economic decisions between themselves and their service providers.
The Chamber opposes any legislation that threatens consumer access to healthcare coverage or contributes to increased health insurance costs for employers and their employees. In our community, the Chamber supports exploration of opportunities to provide affordable healthcare to members of the business community, including those without health insurance other health-related service providers and/or clinics that the market will bear.