It’s been a busy week here in Richmond. As we approach crossover, the House is working diligently to complete our work before the midpoint of session.
The General Assembly was in the national news this week, but unfortunately for the wrong reasons. If you’ve scrolled through Facebook, watched the news, or read a paper, you likely saw or read a story regarding House Bill 2491 and several comments made by Governor Ralph Northam.
The bill would repeal part of current Virginia law on third trimester abortions. When questioned about the bill,and specifically asked if the bill would allow an abortion even when obvious signs of labor are evident, the patron said “my bill would allow that, yes” and “there are no limits in the bill.”
On top of that, Governor Ralph Northam made very disappointing comments. Governor Northam said “if a mother is in labor, the infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians & mother.”
Many constituents from Chesterfield and Colonial Heights, as well as individuals from across the state, reached out to me via email, phone, letter, and social media to express their opposition to this bill because it would remove all meaningful restrictions on third trimester abortions.
Fortunately, the bill was defeated by Republicans in subcommittee and will not receive a vote on the House floor.
Hearing from many you, I felt compelled to speak out. As you know, I am unapologetically pro-life.
That is why I temporarily vacated the Speaker’s chair on the dais to deliver a floor speech. It’s not a decision I made lightly as no Speaker in recent memory has ever left the dais for a floor speech.
I appreciate the hundreds of emails and calls of support from the district and across the nation. If you haven’t had a chance to view my speech, you can do so by clicking here.
Teacher Pay Raise
On Monday, House Republicans announced that the House budget will include a five percent pay raise for public school teachers without raising taxes on middle class families. As a retired teacher, I know first hand how important it is to support our teachers in the classroom.
This raise will be the fifth pay raise in eight years, efforts that have been championed by House Republicans.
The complete House budget will be released on Sunday afternoon. It will be debated by the House and then sent to the Senate for consideration while the House considers the Senate’s budget. Because each chamber’s budget will be different, the bills are expected to go to a conference committee where the differences will be ironed out. A final vote will be taken on the conference committee’s final product. As required by the Virginia Constitution, the General Assembly will adopt a balanced budget.
The House of Delegates is advancing a series of bills to stop Governor Ralph Northam’s hidden tax increase and ensure that all individual tax revenue from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is used to provide tax relief to middle class families.
On Monday, the House Finance Committee passed a package of legislation to guarantee $950 million in middle-class tax relief. This includes tax relief legislation introduced by Delegate Tim Hugo and tax conformity legislation introduced by Chairman Chris Jones.
House Bill 2355 will immediately conform Virginia’s tax code to the federal tax code. This legislation will set aside all increased revenue from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into a special “Taxpayer Relief Fund” to ensure that this money is used to provide tax relief.
House Bill 2529 will stop Governor Ralph Northam’s hidden tax increase and provide tax relief to hardworking Virginians. The legislation will allow taxpayers to itemize their state taxes regardless of how they file their federal return, increase the state standard deduction across the board, and maintain the important state and local tax (SALT) deduction as it exists today.
Conforming Virginia’s tax code will allow taxpayers to begin filing their taxes immediately without any delays or confusion.
Governor Northam proposes using the new revenue to finance approximately $2.2 billion in new spending. Our plan, on the other hand, will provide $575 million in tax relief immediately and set aside all other revenue collected from individuals, approximately $400 million, to be refunded to taxpayers.
Our plan protects a middle class family that itemizes from what could be roughly a $805 tax increase or providing an additional $115 in tax relief to a family that chooses the standard deduction.
The House budget that will be released on Sunday will not spend one dime of the increased revenues from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Our plan will set aside all new revenue in the “Taxpayer Relief Fund” or into our state savings accounts.
It’s time to have the conversation: give it back or spend it? Based upon the calls and email I’ve received from across our district, the answer is clear, you deserve more money back in your pocket.
Visitors to the General Assembly
Hundreds, if not thousands, of teachers visited the State Capitol this week to advocate for better teacher pay. I enjoyed the chance to sit down with several Chesterfield teachers and PTA members to discuss our local schools and ways that the state can improve K-12 education. I appreciate their activism and their dedication to teaching our students.
I look forward to hearing from you concerning matters coming before the General Assembly. You can call my office at (804) 698-1066; email me at DelKCox@house.virginia.gov; or write to me at PO Box 406, Richmond, VA 23218. In addition to my weekly email newsletters, you can stay up to date by liking my Facebook page and following me on Twitter.