Public Comments for 01/26/2021 Finance - Subcommittee #2
HB1763 - Tax credit; agricultural best management practices.
Last Name: Bayer Organization: Muhlenberg Lutheran Church Locality: Harriosnburg

As a person of Faith it is my calling to support these areas of concern and I ask you to consider how important these issues are and to vote to approve them!

Last Name: Calvert Organization: Virginia Conservation Network Locality: Charlottesville

On behalf of Virginia Conservation Network's 150 organizational members statewide, I wish to communicate VCN's full support of Delegate Wilt's HB1763. Case for SUPPORT: http://www.vcnva.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/HB1763-Ag-BMPs-tax-credit-talking-points.pdf

Last Name: Kent Locality: Great Falls

I am writing to ask your support for HB 1763, “Tax credit; agricultural best management practices,” by Delegate Wilt. As a landscape photographer I am often photographing scenes of the Potomac River and its tributaries and I believe it is important to protect the river from pollution. To accomplish this goal, partners from many different sectors are essential, including Virginia’s important agriculture sector. The implementation of “best management practices” is an important means to curb pollution and improve water quality. Nevertheless, actions like stream-side fencing and riparian buffers of trees and shrubs can be a costly endeavor which can be a barrier to these efforts. This bill increases the amount available through tax credits to farmers for implementing water quality improvement practices approved by the Soil and Water Conservation Districts, practices that tend to also lead to increased herd-health and farm productivity. So, in my view this bill is win-win-win for farmers, our water and our local agriculture economy. Therefore, I urge you to recommend it for reporting and will vote for its passage when it reaches the House Floor.

HB1771 - Income tax, state and corporate; tax credit for employers of Nat'l Guard members, etc.
Last Name: Bayer Organization: Muhlenberg Lutheran Church Locality: Harriosnburg

As a person of Faith it is my calling to support these areas of concern and I ask you to consider how important these issues are and to vote to approve them!

Last Name: Ashton Organization: Joint Leadership Council Locality: Fredericksburg

HB1771 - As a representative of the Fleet Reserve Association and as Chairman of the Joint Leadership Council representing over 250,000 Veterans in the Commonwealth, we support this bill. OBJECTIVE: To promote the hiring of members of the Virginia National Guard and the Reserves by recognizing Virginia employers who hire our citizen-soldiers. BACKGROUND:  Members of the Virginia National Guard and the Armed Forces Reserves are citizen-soldiers, meaning that when they are not serving on federal or state missions, they are in their communities and working to support their families.  As a Commonwealth and a Nation, it is important that we recognize our employers who hire our citizen-soldiers. One way to do this is through a small-scale grant to encourage and incentivize hiring.  After the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) Program was established, the Governor and General Assembly authorized the creation of a grant program to recognize small to medium-sized employers that hire Virginia veterans.  If a Guardsman or Reservist serves on federal active duty, they earn Veterans status. Employers who hire these members of the Guard and Reserve would qualify for a V3 employer grant.  However, if a Guardsman or Reservist is not called to federal active duty, they are not considered a Veteran. Employers who hire them do not qualify for the V3 grant program. DISCUSSION:  This proposal seeks to build on the V3 Program employer grant model by awarding a one-time grant of $1,000 to a Virginia employer who hires a member of the Virginia National Guard or the Armed Forces Reserves.  Extending eligibility for a V3-type grant to Virginia employers who hire Virginia’s citizen-soldiers will both incentivize hiring of these talented individuals and recognize the vital dual role played by citizen-soldiers in our work places and our Commonwealth.  The JLC recommends a small-scale initial investment of $50,000 in FY22, sufficient to award 50 grants of $1,000 each. The Departments of Veterans Services and Military Affairs would report back to the Governor and General Assembly of the demand for this grant, and whether any shortfalls exist that should be addressed in future fiscal years.  The JLC recommends that the eligibility requirements for the $1,000 grant be modeled on the V3 employer grant requirements. RECOMMENDATION: That the Governor and General Assembly approve $50,000 to create a grant program to incentivize small to medium-sized Virginia employers to hire members of the Virginia National Guard and Armed Forces Reserves

Last Name: Oertel Organization: The American Legion Locality: Colonial Heights

As The American Legion representative to the Joint Leadership Council I echo the comments and endorsement of Bill Ashton, our Chairman. This bill addresses the number 2 priority of the JLC for this year. While the Fiscal Impact is unknown it is unlikely that the loss of revenue would be large given that it is unlikely that a large number of Guardsman would be on military pay status for over 45 days in a year. That said, providing an incentive to businesses to hire and retain Virginia National Guard members and encourage self employed personnel to serve in the National Guard would seem to be a win-win for both the Commonwealth and the businesses. As a retired active duty officer I highly encourage support of our part-time soldiers who honorably serve in a much more significant capacity than when I was in service.

Last Name: Ashton Organization: Joint Leadership Council Locality: Fredericksburg

As the Fleet Reserve Association representative which has over 4500 members in the Commonwealth of Virginia to the Joint Leadership Council which represents over 250,000 Veterans. we support this. OBJECTIVE: To promote the hiring of members of the Virginia National Guard and the Reserves by recognizing Virginia employers who hire our citizen-soldiers. BACKGROUND:  Members of the Virginia National Guard and the Armed Forces Reserves are citizen-soldiers, meaning that when they are not serving on federal or state missions, they are in their communities and working to support their families.  As a Commonwealth and a Nation, it is important that we recognize our employers who hire our citizen-soldiers. One way to do this is through a small-scale grant to encourage and incentivize hiring.  After the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) Program was established, the Governor and General Assembly authorized the creation of a grant program to recognize small to medium-sized employers that hire Virginia veterans.  If a Guardsman or Reservist serves on federal active duty, they earn Veterans status. Employers who hire these members of the Guard and Reserve would qualify for a V3 employer grant.  However, if a Guardsman or Reservist is not called to federal active duty, they are not considered a Veteran. Employers who hire them do not qualify for the V3 grant program. DISCUSSION:  This proposal seeks to build on the V3 Program employer grant model by awarding a one-time grant of $1,000 to a Virginia employer who hires a member of the Virginia National Guard or the Armed Forces Reserves.  Extending eligibility for a V3-type grant to Virginia employers who hire Virginia’s citizen-soldiers will both incentivize hiring of these talented individuals and recognize the vital dual role played by citizen-soldiers in our work places and our Commonwealth.  The JLC recommends a small-scale initial investment of $50,000 in FY22, sufficient to award 50 grants of $1,000 each. The Departments of Veterans Services and Military Affairs would report back to the Governor and General Assembly of the demand for this grant, and whether any shortfalls exist that should be addressed in future fiscal years.  The JLC recommends that the eligibility requirements for the $1,000 grant be modeled on the V3 employer grant requirements. RECOMMENDATION: That the Governor and General Assembly approve $50,000 to create a grant program to incentivize small to medium-sized Virginia employers to hire members of the Virginia National Guard and Armed Forces Reserves

Last Name: Czaplicki Organization: Virginia National Guard Association, Inc. Locality: Fredericksburg

On behalf of the nearly 10,000 brave men and women serving the Virginia National Guard, I proudly support this legislation as it provides an essential benefit to those Virginians who have answered their community's call. Since 2001, the Virginia National Guard has mobilized more than 19,200 Soldiers and Airmen on State Active Duty to respond to hurricanes, winter storms, flooding and other severe weather events, the novel Coronavirus pandemic and most recently with the response to Washington, D.C. where upwards of 2,900 Virginia Guard Soldiers and Airmen provide security over our Nation's Capitol. These missions to support our communities are hand-in-hand with our missions overseas to defend freedom abroad. In 2001, thousands of Guardsmen have served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Tajikistan, throughout Europe and at our own Southwest Border. When these brave men and women return home to their families, they begin the transition back to civilian life. One key tenant of that normalcy is returning to the job that they left. This bill helps to bridge the gap between employers and their Guard Soldiers and Airmen. Buy offering a tax credit to Guard employers, you solidify the value placed on their service. Thank you for your continued leadership and support of the Commonwealth's Guardians.

HB1884 - Income tax, state; voluntary inclusion of personal & contact information on appropriate forms.
Last Name: Cariano Organization: VA Poverty Law Center Locality: Richmond

This voluntary tool will create an additional opportunity for uninsured Virginians to learn about health insurance and health insurance affordability options. It will also enable the Virginia Health Benefits Exchange to build a robust and targeted outreach campaign. Maryland has set up a similar program which has resulted in an increase in insured adults and children. For these reasons the Virginia Poverty Law Center supports this bill and asks you to vote yes.

Last Name: Mejia Organization: The Commonwealth Institute Locality: Richmond

The Commonwealth Institute fully supports the creation of a facilitated enrollment program. This voluntary tool will offer uninsured people in Virginia an opportunity to learn more about their health coverage options. We expect this program will decrease the amount of people who go without health coverage. Please vote yes on HB1884.

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

All of that personal data and its dissemination to and among multiple state agencies and their contractors is deemed by Rep. Sickles to be necessary for Virginia to build its own Health Benefit Exchange. No word on why such an exchange is necessary. No word on why it will prove so much superior to the existing federal exchange that it is worth putting personal information of Virginia taxpayers in play across the state government and its contractors.

HB1899 - Coal tax credits; sunset dates.
Last Name: Clarke Organization: Virginia Oil & Gas Association Locality: Richmond

The Virginia Oil & Gas Association opposes HB1899. While the tax credits proposed to be ended under this legislation are generally referred to as the "coal tax credits" the natural gas producers in Southwest Virginia also benefit from the Coalfield Employment Enhancement Tax Credits which would end under this bill. The natural gas industry supports significant jobs and tax revenue in a challenged part of the Commonwealth. The loss of these credits will result in a competitive disadvantage for the industry in Virginia.

Last Name: Fox Organization: VA Grassroots Coalition Locality: Alexandria

It is not news that natural gas replaced coal years ago as an economic driver in this country. Virginia should not be wasting tax credits on a dying industry. Instead, Virginia should be incentivizing energy that creates jobs. The numbers tell the story - in spite of enjoying years of tax credits in Virginia, the coal industry continues to lose jobs. It is past time the state legislature passed this legislation. Thank you. ADF in Alexandria

Last Name: Kent Locality: Great Falls

Dear Delegates to the Committee: I am writing to ask that you support HB 1899, “Sunset of coal tax credits, by Delegate Hudson. This is a program that needs to be ended as the bill provides. According to a report by the Virginia Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) issued on September 14, 2020, these credits are providing “negligible returns” in Economic Benefits and Return on Revenue. Moreover, the report points out that the “Electricity generator tax credit is no longer needed because all but one of Virginia’s existing coal fired plants will close by 2025.” (page 4 of the Report). Therefore, I urge you to recommend HB 1899 for reporting and that you will vote for its passage when it reaches the House Floor. Thank you.

End of Comments