Local Commentary

Delegate Jim Scott’s Richmond Report

Transportation update

On Monday, the House Finance Committee met to consider what actions to take on several transportation funding bills. The bills included measures to allow regional financing mechanisms for Tidewater and Northern Virginia.

In both cases, local governments would have to enact the fees and/or taxes.

Thus, the General Assembly could avoid raising them.

For other areas, a bill introduced by Republican Sen. Charles Hawkins would raise approximately several hundred million dollars ifapproved by the General Assembly. Unfortunately, no substantive action was taken. Procedurally, the Committee agreed to reconsider the motion to table bills that had been tabled to August 1. The Committee then voted to put them back on the table without a deadline. Since no date was set this time, the bills will remain on the table until the Committee votes to take them up, or the Special Session ends.

Thus, the package of substantial transportation funding measures passed overwhelmingly by the Senate may die in the House Finance Committee without a vote on their merits.

Northern Virginians on the Finance Committee are Delegates Hull, Watts, Caputo, Shannon, Hugo.Frederick and Lingamfelter. In short, five of the twenty-two members are from Fairfax County and two are from Prince William County. None is from Loudoun County, Alexandria or Arlington.

House to meet on August 8

The House is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, August 8, to consider the Governor’s recommendations on the repeal of the estate tax and the capping of the tax credits for land preservation.

The Governor stated in the fall campaign that he supported repeal of the estate tax. His amendments would allow for that repeal while phasing in the impact and increasing the cap allowed for tax credits for land preservation.

Since the Speaker has stated he supports the Governor’s compromise, along with the League of Conservation Voters, it will undoubtedly pass.

While it is theoretically possible for the House to consider transportation funding measures at the same time, the House leadership has indicated that there will be a special session on transportation in early September, and not before.

Thanks to Bob Morrison   

As reported in the Falls Church News-Press, Bob Morrison has retired from his position as Treasurer of Falls Church after 12 years for health reasons. Bob has made great contributions to the City and deserves and our hearty thanks. Personally, I have greatly appreciated his guidance, support and counsel, and look forward to more of the same. Best wishes, Bob.