Public Comments for 01/25/2021 Finance - Subcommittee #1
HB1969 - Administration of blighted and derelict properties; modifies definition of "qualifying locality."
From the City of Portsmouth, VA - Please Support this bill At 105.57, we have the highest score on the Fiscal Stress Index of all our neighboring cities (Hampton, Newport News, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Suffolk). Blighted structures continue to be a major problem in Portsmouth. Our office supports any measure that would help the city to reign on derelict structures and their owners who continue to be delinquent in tax payments. The bill allows qualified jurisdictions to impose a higher tax on these properties (by special assessment) and to acquire and sell them 6 months after they have been condemned, determined a nuisance and/or declared blighted or derelict. Success will require a combined effort between the Building Inspector (identifying the structures), the Assessor (imposing the special assessment rate) and the Treasurer (setting the time limit for rehabilitation and acting upon delinquencies and short falls when appropriate).
The members of the Virginia First Cities Coalition and the City of Roanoke are looking for tools to, on the one hand, assist with the provision of affordable housing, and on the other, get blighted/derelict properties back into productive re-use in a sensitive manner. Del. Carr's bill adjusts the qualifying criteria to include any locality with a score of 100 or above on the Virginia Commission on Local Government’s Fiscal Stress Index (Meaning they have Above Average and High fiscal stress) for two things: 1) Extending land trusts being able to receive tax delinquent properties (HB 525/Carr that passed the 2020 General Assembly and is now law); and 2) Giving the ability to levy a tax on blighted properties and derelict structures at a rate that exceeds the general real property tax rate by five and ten percent AND also gives the authority to sell delinquent tax lands six months after incurring abatement costs for buildings that have been condemned, constitute a nuisance, are derelict buildings, or are declared to be blighted. [Under current law, such sales can be conducted on the first anniversary of the date on which such taxes have become due.] (Del. Aird’s HB 755 that similarly passed the 2020 General Assembly and is now law) Passage of this bill will provide tools to our fiscally stressed localities that are dealing with blighted properties that they would like to get back into productive and taxpaying use, especially in the provision of safe and affordable housing. As regards adding localities to the list of those having expanded authority to transfer properties to the locality in lieu of a sale at public auction, all the currently named qualifying localities listed in this section have a score above 100 on the Commission on Local Government’s Fiscal Stress Index, so no one is being removed from this section. As with Delegate Carr's legislation from last year, the intent here to make clear that land trusts can receive tax delinquent properties from the locality, and in turn, develop a house and sell only the house (retaining the land in the trust) to a qualified buyer. This is a tool that has been requested by the City of Roanoke, the City of Charlottesville, and the City of Lynchburg, as they are not included in the current statute.
HB2006 - Energy storage systems; definitions, tax exemption, revenue share for systems.
HB2076 - Motor vehicle sales and use tax; definition of sale price.
The Virginia Transit Association opposes HB2076. This bill will decrease the amount of revenues collected from the motor vehicle sales and use tax; and it will negatively impact all transportation agencies, including DRPT, that receive proceeds from that tax. The 2020 transportation omnibus bill streamlined all transportation revenues to the Commonwealth Transportation Fund and Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), which is where the proceeds from the motor vehicle sales and use tax are deposited. Each transportation agency receives a portion of those funds. The Commonwealth Mass Transit Fund receives 23 percent of the TTF revenues, and the Commonwealth Rail Fund receives 7.5 percent of the TTF revenues. In Fiscal Year 2022, estimated allocations for transit and rail are $604.8M. Funding in the Commonwealth Mass Transit Trust Fund are used for five purposes: i) statewide operating assistance to Virginia’s 40 transit agencies; ii) statewide capital assistance to those same agencies; iii) capital and operating assistance to one of the largest transit agencies in the United States, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Agency; iv) the Transit Ridership Incentive Program that funds commuter bus services and reduced and zero-fare programs; and v) transportation demand management programs. The Commonwealth Rail Fund provides funding for the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority and its capital and operating programs for Amtrak Virginia as well as freight and planning programs administered by DRPT. We ask you to reject this bill because it reverses course of our progress achieved in last year's Omnibus Transportation bill. Thank you, Lisa Guthrie Executive Director Virginia Transit Association
HB2269 - Solar energy projects and energy storage systems; revenue share for projects and systems.
HB2273 - Data centers; sales and use tax exemption, criteria, report.
On behalf of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and its 1200+ members, we support the legislation. Data Centers are a vital part of the economy and keeping the commonwealth competitive in attracting them will only strengthen our economy! We urge you to support the bill.
HB2293 - Local gas severance tax; extends sunset date.
The Virginia Oil and Gas Association supports Del. Morefield's HB2293 which extends the sunset on the local gas severance tax. Continuing the sunset allows for a periodic evaluation of the appropriateness of this tax.
Will submit letter the morning of January 25, 2021 as the County Attorney for Buchanan County
HB1803 - Approved local volunteer activities; enables localities to provide credit against taxes & fees.