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CHAMBER ACTION ALERTS




       VA West Urges Congress to Vote No on Corporate Tax Increase

VA West Coalition urges Congress to vote against Corporate tax increase - this would threaten economic recovery we feel.

Ordinarily, VA West focuses primarily on state-level issues, but when there are big changes proposed at the federal level, we get involved in advocacy for our members.

And the Proposed Corporate Tax increase to businesses is a big change we feel would only exacerbate the challenges our members are facing in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. The Chamber is a member of the VA West Coalition.

Download Corporate Tax Letter



PRO ACT LEGISLATION:

The United States Senate will soon be considering a bill that would strike down Virginia’s status as a Right to Work state. The House of Representatives has already passed this bill.

Right to Work, which prevents an employee from being compelled to join a union as a condition of employment, is a major factor in Virginia’s ranking as a top state to do business. The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act would have many other negative effects on our business climate, so please ask your members to reach out to Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine today and ask them to vote NO on the PRO Act.

Dear Senator _____,

I am a business leader in Virginia, and I ask that you oppose the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act if it should come before you for consideration. The PRO Act, among other concerning items, would invalidate Virginia’s Right to Work law. Right to work is a cornerstone of Virginia’s status as a top state in the country to do business, and the PRO Act would certainly jeopardize our business climate. In addition to repealing Right to Work, the PRO Act would, among other things:

  • Prevent employees from decertifying a union even if they are unhappy with it.
  • Undermine private ballot union representation elections—a fundamental employee right since 1935.
  • Allow unions to launch protests and pickets against any employer, even those that have nothing to do with a labor dispute. 

Each of these items on their own would have a negative impact on our economy, and taken as a whole there will be a major disruptive effect on hiring and employee recruitment. 

Businesses are currently navigating their way out of the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 and enhanced health and safety regulations. Some may be forced to close their doors permanently. Congress should devote its time to defeating COVID-19 and ensure that businesses stay open and continue to grow so that greater economic opportunity is afforded to employees. The PRO Act is detrimental to those goals, so I ask you to strongly oppose it.

Sincerely,

Name

Business (if applicable)

Mailing Address


Background from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce:

Virginia’s right-to-work law is the single most important pro-business, pro-job creating policy being considered this General Assembly Session and SB426 puts right-to-work in jeopardy. When we miss out on economic development opportunities, when businesses choose to leave the state, and when companies decide to expand elsewhere, that will hurt kitchen tables of Virginians across the Commonwealth.

Contrary to some of the misleading information, right-to-work does NOT prohibit unions from organizing in Virginia, but it does protect workers free choice to decide if they want to join a join or pay union fees. Right-to-work means an employee cannot be fired simply for refusing to join the union or refusing to pay the union dues or fees.



2021 General Assembly Final Update 

The General Assembly adjourned sine die from their Special Session on Monday, March 1. There were several pro-business bills that have already been signed into law or are currently awaiting the Governor’s signature to become law. Below you will find a list of some of these legislative items. 

  • Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back (G3) Program and Fund (HB2204/SB1405) passed with overwhelming support. The Virginia Chamber was an early supporter and advocate for this program.
  • Retail Sales and Use Tax Exemption for PPP (HB2185) passed and is headed to the Governor’s desk for signature.
  • COVID 19 Vaccine Administration (HB2333/SB1445) passed the General Assembly earlier this session and has been signed into law. This bill expands the pool of eligible health care providers to administer the vaccine.
  • Initiatives to Reduce Unemployment Among Veterans (SB1279) passed with unanimous support.
  • Child Care Provider Pilot Program (SB1316) passed House and Senate with unanimous support.

Below you will find a list of other bills of interest to the business community that have passed and are awaiting the Governor’s signature to become law. 

  • Paycheck Protection Program Loan Deductibility (HB1935/SB1146) allows for individuals and businesses to take these deductions up to $100,000. 
  • The Automatic Expungement bills (HB2113 and SB1339) call for the automatic expungement of certain criminal offenses which would otherwise be a barrier to employment. A workgroup will work this year to determine a process for complying with the new law.
  • The Virginia Overtime Wage Act (HB2063) will require an employer to compensate its employees who are entitled to overtime compensation per the federal FLSA, at a rate not less than one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate for any hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek. Failure to pay this overtime can result in civil or criminal penalties.
  • Consumer Data Protection Act (SB1392/HB2307) takes effect on January 1, 2023, and provides additional privacy protections for individuals, and new responsibilities for certain businesses with large amounts of consumer data.   
  • A bill to address affordable housing (SB1197) will encourage the construction of low-income housing by offering a tax credit. 
  • Virginia Saves Program (HB2174) requires all businesses with 25 or more employees to offer an IRA savings plan to its employees. The program will be established by the Virginia College Savings Plan, and employers will be required to offer this retirement option to their employees. However, it will be voluntary for employees to participate. The program will begin July 1, 2023.   
  • Virginia’s Court of Appeals’ jurisdiction is being expanded per SB1261. The jurisdiction of the Virginia Court of Appeals is being expanded, per SB1261, to provide an appeal of right in every circuit court case. The bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2022.
  • The final budget includes a provision requiring unitary businesses to file a pro forma report with the Virginia Department of Taxation for the 2019 taxable year. This report is due by June 1, 2021. If the unitary business does not file by this date, they will be subject to a $10,000 penalty.
  • A Joint Subcommittee on Tax Policy will meet to evaluate and make recommendations on potential changes to Virginia's tax policies.
  • The final budget includes important investments in small businesses with its $10,000,000 appropriation to fund a new Virginia Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (item 114 #8c) which will provide grants and loans to small businesses and others.
  • A partial restoration of funds was made to the Talent Solutions Program at VEDP (item 130 #1c) of $2,350,000 to continue the agency’s offering of recruiting and training assistance to new and expanding companies.
  • An appropriation of $1.1 million (item 130 #3c) is also included to support Virginia’s International Trade Plan to help Virginia businesses who transact business overseas.
  • Establishing the Commonwealth Reinsurance Program (HB2332) will help to keep health insurance premiums lower in Virginia. The bill passed and will be funded with federal and state general funds. 


Finally, during the 2021 General Assembly Session and Special Session, there were many bills proposed that, if enacted, would threaten Virginia’s business and legal climates. Below you will find a list of some of the anti-business bills, including the proposed legislation to repeal Virginia’s Right-to-Work law, that was defeated or amended to reduce the negative impact on Virginia's business climate. 

  • Right-to-Work (HB1755)
  • Green New Deal Act (HB1937)
  • Mandatory Hazard Pay (HB2015)
  • Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Projects (HB2292)
  • Mandatory Paid Family and Medical Leave Program (HB2016 and SB1330)
  • Increased Environmental Permitting Standards (SB1373/HB2221)
  • Class Action (SB1180)
  • Limit Employer Ability to Discharge Employee (HB1754)
  • Mandated Paid Sick Leave (HB2137) (this bill was amended to apply only to home health care workers paid for by Medicaid) 
  • Arbitration agreements (SB1384)
  • Studying the Options for Universal Health Care (HB2271)

The General Assembly will return to Richmond (in person and virtual) on Wednesday, April 7 for the Reconvened Session. This is a one-day session when the legislature meets to consider and act on Governor amendments and vetoes. 


CONTACTING YOUR LEGISLATOR(S)

You can find your legislator at https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov and you will see the contact information for your representative. When calling or emailing your legislator in support or opposition to a bill, always state your name, your address, and that you are a chamber representative or business owner serving his or her district. Again, it is important to share your thoughts early and often. 



Read the 2021 Legislative Agenda here.


VA West is a business and legislative coalition comprised of 16 chambers in central, southside, Shenandoah valley, and western Virginia, representing over 4,500 businesses and covering over 8,000 square miles. VA West supports public policies that strengthen free enterprise and regional collaboration efforts that promote economic development.

Your Board of Directors is aware of the increased flow of proposed legislation in both the State Senate and House that will impact businesses in Shenandoah County and the Commonwealth in 2021.  As such, the Board has approved membership in VA WEST to monitor proposed legislation in order to keep you, our members, informed. In addition, we will monitor legislative releases from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and we plan to send routine legislative and action alerts during the legislative session to ensure our members have an opportunity to be engaged and give perspective. 


              

                

             

ABOUT THE CHAMBER

Your Voice for Business Success! Fostering economic growth and prosperity in our Community by promoting business through education, networking, and advocacy.

CONTACTS

director@shenandoahcountychamber.com
540-459-2542
103 South Main Street
Woodstock, VA 22664

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