The 2016 General Assembly adjourned Friday, March 11th, completing its work ahead of schedule for the second year in a row. The early adjournment will save taxpayers over $25,000.
This year, the House of Delegates worked tirelessly to strengthen Virginia’s economy to help middle class families, improve our education system so all children have the opportunity to succeed, and chart a responsible fiscal course for the future. We continue to offer a positive governing vision for our Commonwealth.
To help strengthen Virginia’s economy, the House of Delegates passed legislation to protect Virginia workers from union bosses, rolled back the federal accelerated sales tax on 90 percent of Virginia businesses, and resist President Obama’s job killing and unconstitutional EPA regulations.
Improving our education system is a top priority for the House of Delegates. The House passed legislation to create Education Savings Accounts for parents and took steps to finalize the establishment of Virginia’s virtual school. This legislation, combined with our investments in public schools, will help make sure all children have the opportunity to succeed.
The General Assembly also reached a bipartisan agreement to restore concealed carry reciprocity following Attorney General Herring’s announcement to rescind those agreements. The major bipartisan agreement restores and expand concealed carry reciprocity to every state in the nation with a concealed carry law. I am proud of our work to secure the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding concealed carry permit holders.
One of the most important tasks of the General Assembly is crafting the two year state budget. I am happy to report that the House of Delegates passed a conservative, responsible, and structurally-balanced budget that invests in the core functions of government while protecting precious taxpayer resources.
Here are the highlights of the 2016-2018 state budget:
- The budget does not contain any tax or fee increases on hardworking Virginians.
- We are taking a number of steps to set Virginia on a responsible fiscal course – eliminating state liabilities, reducing borrowing and making one-time investments rather than committing to long-term spending.
- We are investing over $900 million in new funding for K-12, significantly more than Governor McAuliffe proposed. Our funding also gives local school divisions added flexibility.
- We are providing over $114 million in new funding for higher education to hold down tuition costs for Virginia families.
- We are making strategic investments in economic development, but adding additional oversight to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.
- The budget does not include Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion or the Medicaid provider tax that Governor McAuliffe proposed. Instead, we continue to build on our work to strengthen the healthcare safety net.
I carried several important pieces of legislation this year. In total I submitted 44 pieces of legislation to include 8 Commending Resolutions and 3 Memorial Resolutions, most all recognized our fellow citizens in the 66th House District.
A major cornerstone of the House job growth agenda was my HB834 that establishes the Growth & Opportunity Board, the centerpiece of “GOVirginia”. This business driven initiative facilitates greater collaboration between the business community, higher education and local governments. By aligning the needs of the three segments, we will encourage the creation of good paying jobs in high demand fields, and make economic development dollars go further.
While GOVirginia has a statewide impact, my HB448
supports my successful 2015 efforts that helped to bring Shandong Tranlin Paper Company to Chesterfield. Completion of this effort brings 2,000 full-time jobs to central Virginia and at least a $2 billion investment in real and personal property.
As 40% of 66th District households have a veteran or active duty family member, I continue to focus on our military and veterans. My HB477
completes our efforts to build two new veteran care centers. This is important to our area, as the two new centers will free up space for area veterans at our first class Richmond Sitter Barfoot Care Center.
It is a privilege to represent you in the Virginia House of Delegates. I hope you will stay connected with me over the coming months. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I may be of assistance to you in any way.