Last night, the General Assembly concluded its 2010 Regular Session. Like most states, Virginia continues to confront its most difficult budget challenge in memory due to the national economy.
Facing the largest revenue decline in Virginia history, the General Assembly adopted a lean and balanced budget that cut billions in spending and that had no general tax increases. State spending has now been reduced to 2006 levels.
At the same time, I worked with my colleagues in the legislature to minimize the impact of budget cuts to core priorities, such as education, public safety and health care services to those who are most vulnerable.
Here are some highlights of my work on your behalf this session:
Reversing the LCI Freeze
One of my top priorities was to reverse the LCI freeze. Delay in recalculating the local composite index, the formula that determines how much state education funding is distributed to each locality, would have cost Loudoun County $35 million and Fairfax $61 million. I am pleased my budget amendment to restore this funding was adopted by the Senate and included in the final budget.
Of the 17 bills I introduced this Session, 10 of them passed both the Senate and House of Delegates and will now make their way to the Governor’s desk for his signature. Most of these measures passed with strong bipartisan support. You can log on to the General Assembly’s website for detailed look at all of the legislation I carried this year. Here are a few highlights:
The State Government Spending Accountability Act- SB 431
I have been a strong proponent of common sense measures that promote transparency and accountability in government. During tough economic times such as these, government must strive to live within its means just like hard-working Virginians and their families must do. Citizens of the Commonwealth are entitled to know where their tax dollars are being spent, and what the government is spending money on.
This legislation requires state agencies to place their check register on their agency’s website. It also directs the Auditor of Public Accounts to conduct a review of Commonwealth Data Point, the state’s online database for expenditure and revenue information, and to incorporate best practices used by other states to make the site more user-friendly and improve transparency of state agency expenditures. There are common sense actions the state can take to ensure your tax dollars are spent wisely.
The Virginia Innovation Investment Act- SB 428
Promoting technology-based economic development and job creation have been among my top legislative priorities as your State Senator. Encouraging the investment of new capital in Virginia will lead to the creation of high-quality, high-paying jobs. This legislation provides a targeted, long-term capital gains tax exclusion for new investment in science and technology start-up companies in Virginia if the investment is made in the next three years.
As always, representing you in the General Assembly is an honor and a privilege. I welcome your input, so please do not hesitate to contact me if there is anything I can ever do for you. The telephone number for my district office in Leesburg is 703-729-3300. You can also contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are on Facebook, you can receive updates on my page which can be found at www.facebook.com/markherring33 and please remember to visit my newly redesigned website, www.markherring.org.