Public Comments for 02/17/2023 Finance - Subcommittee #3
SB1048 - Research and development expenses; tax credits.
SB1066 - Historic rehabilitation; increases maximum amount of tax credit, effective provision.
SB1095 - Cannabis; deconforms from federal law, medical licensees.
SB1287 - Sales and use tax, additional local; taxes to support schools.
Two words to explain why we need the ability to raise funds for school construction -- inflation, and Uvalde. Inflation -- the school that we committed to rebuilding last year for $68 million will now cost us $80 million, with the difference being construction inflation beyond what we were planning for. Uvalde -- the schools that we built in the 1960's with an open campus design were then state of the art, but are now soft targets. We are told that the answer to school safety and security is to make schools "hard targets." That is impossible to do with an open campus design. In addition to the $68 million/$80 million school mentioned above, we have another school that will have to be rebuilt, at probably another $80 million. If we are going to get safe, we need to be able to raise the money. If we do it with real property taxes, we'd have to raise real property tax rates by at least 10 cents -- impossible to do to homeowners on a fixed income. We in Charlottesville are willing to tax ourselves to solve our problem. Please let us do it.
SB1324 - State-level economic security payment grant program/tax credits; analyzing impact on families.
SB1408 - Sales and use tax, local; additional tax authorized in all counties & cities to support schools.
Dear Delegate Byron and Subcommittee Members: With billions of dollars of unmet school construction needs in Virginia, school divisions and localities are seeking additional means of revenue for school modernization. In Newport News, past generations made school construction a priority, building most of the city's schools during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Today, however, these schools are aging, in need of renovation, and costly to maintain. We are asking for an OPTION that will help citizens today to step up and modernize schools so that students and teachers can have safe, efficient and inviting places to learn and teach. HB 2316 and HB 2442 will provide residents with the OPTION of raising revenue that would be dedicated solely to school modernization. These bills give citizens the opportunity to vote on whether or not to raise the sales tax for this specific purpose. We ask that you vote for these bills so that citizens can decide whether to invest in the schools in which their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews spend much of their lives. This is a purely optional bill in which citizens will be the ultimate decision-makers. In America, we believe that government closest to the people governs best. This legislation will give citizens a right that the state currently restricts for most localities -- while allowing it for nine Virginia localities. Now is the time to expand it to all other Virginia localities that wish to allow their residents to vote on this matter for themselves. Please vote to give residents a vote on this important issue.
Dear Delegates, SB 1408 as proposed would grant all localities the same special taxing authority that nine (9) localities were afforded in 2019 and 2020 to impose an additional local sales and use tax of up to one percent, under the following conditions: • Must be initiated by a resolution of the local governing body, • Must be approved by voters at a local referendum, • Revenue from the tax shall be used solely for capital projects for the construction or improvement of schools, and • Any tax imposed shall expire when the costs for capital projects are to be repaid and shall not be more than 20 years after the date of the resolution passed. As you all are well aware, funding for school construction and renovation is one of the biggest concerns and responsibilities of local governments in the Commonwealth. Many localities face significant challenges in raising sufficient funds to undertake these projects. Many localities struggle with over-reliance on real property taxes to generate revenue, which can have vastly different yields depending on the locality and disproportionately burden a subset of taxpayers within a jurisdiction. It is estimated that this additional authority could generate approximately $1.6 million in annual revenue in Franklin County alone dedicated towards school construction costs. This equates to over $.02 equivalent on the County’s real estate tax rate to generate this same revenue. Expansion of this authority to all localities was a recommendation of the Commission on School Construction and Modernization. This bill adds no additional cost to the State – it is a local choice. Since 2019, all but one of every voter referendum initiated by a qualifying locality’s Board of Supervisors or City Council via resolution has been subsequently approved by voters in those localities. To date, the only qualifying locality to have not sought a voter referendum on this issue is Mecklenburg County. The Franklin County Board of Supervisors asks for your support of SB1408 as this legislation will give all localities the same opportunities to generate revenues for school construction projects if consented to by the citizens. Vote “YES” to allow this legislation to move forward to a vote of the full House.