FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2018
Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox and House Republican leaders highlighted their legislative accomplishments for the first half of the 2018 General Assembly at a press conference Wednesday morning. The House advanced its “Practical Solutions to Everyday Issues” Agenda, announced several major bipartisan agreements, stood up to higher taxes on millenials, and started work on a balanced budget.
“At the start of this General Assembly session I encouraged the General Assembly to renew its commitment to governing,” said Speaker Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “I am proud of the work we have accomplished, whether it was advancing practical solutions to everyday issues, achieving bipartisan compromises on major issues, defeating tax increases, and beginning to work on the budget. The House of Delegates had a very productive and successful first 30 days of the General Assembly session. We are confident we can replicate this success over the second half of the session.”
House leadership announced in November the ‘Practical Solutions to Everyday Issues’ agenda, focusing on protecting personal student information, addressing the teacher shortage, and ensuring students who attempt to cut down on the cost of college by completing dual enrollment courses in High School will actually receive the credit they are due. These key priorities passed the House with broad bipartisan support.
House Republicans also worked with Governor Northam to advance ideas important to both parties, announcing significant, bipartisan compromises on regulatory reform and criminal justice. The regulatory reform compromise will eliminate or steamline regulations by 25% over the next three years. On criminal justice, the House agreed to raise the felony larceny threshold to $500 in exchange for Governor Northam’s support for stronger restitution enforcement laws. Other accomplishments include passing adoption reform to help children find loving families sooner, legislation to help workers get the training they need to find a good-paying job, bills to fight the opioid crisis, and reforms to address transportation congestion and the aging Metro system.
“Washington should take note,” said House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah). “We have led by example, reaching bipartisan agreements on important issues and passing legislation that will have a meaningful impact on the lives of everyday Virginians. The Speaker set a clear tone from day one and the House has lived up to its commitment to lead and govern the Commonwealth in a bipartisan fashion.”
House Republicans also stood up to protect taxpayers from significant tax hikes. Democrats introduced several tax increases that disproportionately affected millennials. One bill introduced by Democrats sought to tax things like Netflix, Pandora, and Hulu, while a separate proposal would tax Uber and Lyft.
“We have seen several attempts to raise taxes on the hardworking families of Virginia,” said Caucus Chairman Tim Hugo (R-Fairfax). “Tax increases like this disproportionately affect millennials and would make a family movie night cost more. I am proud of my Republican colleagues for defeating these tax increases. Our constituents sent us here to pass legislation that will improve their everyday lives, not take more of their hard-earned money for unnecessary government spending.”
The House fully intends to pass a structurally balanced budget on time. The budget, which will be released on Sunday, will make prudent investments in supporting K-12 rebenchmarking, increasing the reserve fund, funding medicaid growth, and ensuring the core functions of government are funded, without a government shutdown.
“Under the direction of Chairman Jones, and the hard working members of the House Appropriations Committee, we are finalizing the House’s proposal for the new, two-year state budget,” said House Majority Whip Nick Rush (R-Montgomery). “We are crafting a responsible, balanced budget that spends taxpayer dollars with strategic care while making smart investments in the core functions of state government.”