General Assembly Update
February 9, 2012
Senate and House at Odds over Governor’s Omnibus Transportation Bill
The Senate and the House of Delegates are sharply divided over how to pay for maintaining and improving Virginia’s overburdened road network. HB 1248 and SB 639 are taking very different paths in the House and Senate. (Summary of the bills as introduced.) Both the Senate and House agree on removing the creation of a new tolling authority. The House version still has intact the Governor’s proposal to increase funding for transportation by moving, over an eight year period) ¼ of a percent of the sales tax revenues from the general fund to transportation. The Senate has rejected this idea, substituting a gas tax indexing provision instead. The House version keeps the study on devolution, the Senate version strips it out.
The Senate plan also removes the sunset clause from local income tax option of up to 1% for Northern Virginia, Norfolk and Virginia Beach and authorizes localities to withdraw from state secondary road program and impose a local meals tax. In addition the Senate version deletes: Re-direction of 1% of future general fund revenue growth over 8% to transportation; Transportation Improvement Districts where portion of economic growth is dedicated to transportation; Naming rights for transportation facilities.
These changes will be discussed today in the Senate Finance Committee. Summary of the Senate’s proposed changes.
KEY TO WATCH FOR: If the Senate Finance Committee passes its version of the Governor’s Omnibus Transportation bill, it will put both gas tax indexing and the sales tax reallocation into play.
Senate Committee Keeps Protections against Cooperative Procurement; House to Decide Today
SB 679, the Administration’s bill to “reduce or eliminate” mandates on local governments contained language that would have repealed the protections on cooperative procurement. Cooperative procurement allows one or more jurisdictions to use the procurement of another jurisdiction. Thus, Jurisdiction A could go out to bid for goods and services, then jurisdictions B, C, and D could use that procurement for the same goods and services…without ever having to go out to bid. Two years ago VTCA worked to pass a $200,000/75 mile limitation on the use of cooperative procurement. SB 679 would have removed those limitations. VTCA lobbied successfully in the Senate to keep the protections on. The House version of the bill comes up in Committee today and we will be there again to insist that the limitations on cooperative procurement remain.
House Subcommittee Kills last of New Transportation Revenue Bills
Delegate Dave Albo (R-Springfield) gave an impassioned speech before the House Finance Subcommittee #1 for HB 899 which he had introduced. HB 899 would have increased the portion of sales tax that goes to transportation by ¼ of a percent AND indexed the gas tax. Armed with statistics and charts about the failing transportation system, Albo said we are in a crisis situation and we will have a failure in our system where “someone will get hurt”. Despite strong industry support for the bill, it failed along party lines. Voting for the bill: Johnson, Englin, Carr. Voting against the bill: Cline (Chairman), Orrock, Cole, Marshall, R.G., Villanueva, Pogge, O’Quinn, Head
BILLS VTCA IS ENGAGED WITH ON BEHALF OF ITS MEMBERS
High Priority Bills