Virginia State Senator Mark Herring released the following statement regarding the progress of negotiations over the budget:
“I am pleased that over the past few days, my Republican colleagues have come to the table and are now engaged with my Democratic colleagues and me in a true bipartisan discussion.
I previously voted against the Senate Republican budget because it shortchanged Northern Virginia, and I refused to be bullied or intimidated into voting for a budget that was not in the best interests of the people I represent. It failed to address funding for Phase 2 of the Dulles Rail Project and inadequately funded our public schools.
Extending the Metrorail to Dulles Airport and into Loudoun County is one of the most important transportation projects in the Commonwealth. It is a project of local, state and national significance. I have consistently maintained that Virginia needed to make a significant contribution to the project, but the Senate Republican budget was silent on Phase 2 funding. I am negotiating to include in the budget a $400 million state contribution that will help keep toll rates on the Dulles Toll Road from skyrocketing out of control and allow us to better position ourselves to obtain some federal funding for the project.
The Senate Republican budget also failed to fully restore Cost of Competing funding for Northern Virginia that is needed to help educate children growing up in our region. My budget amendment would fully restore the $65 million to Northern Virginia schools, and I am fighting to have the full amount included in the final budget.
The changes I am fighting for would result in a budget that is balanced, fiscally responsible and, I believe, far better addresses the needs of our region than the original Senate budget that I voted against two weeks ago.
Adopting a balanced, responsible budget is a fundamental responsibility we share as members of the General Assembly. It is a process that requires thoughtful deliberation and bipartisan cooperation. I remain confident now that Senate Republicans appear ready to roll up their sleeves and engage with Senate Democrats in a truly bipartisan negotiation, that we can bridge our substantive differences and pass a budget in the coming weeks.”
Virginia State Senator Mark Herring (D Loudoun & Fairfax) delivered the following remarks at a press conference held by the Senate Democratic caucus late this afternoon regarding the budget impasse:
“We’re hearing a lot from the other side that partisan politics is standing in the way of approving a budget in the Senate.
Democrats voted against the budget because we have substantive disagreements about the best path forward for our Commonwealth — particularly in the areas of education and transportation.
One example on transportation is the proposal to extend Metrorail to Dulles Airport and into Loudoun County. It is one of the most important transportation projects in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and it is a project of local, state and national significance.
The Senate Republican budget was completely silent on funding for this project. With tolls on the Dulles Toll Road projected to reach $6.75 by 2018 for a one-way trip, Northern Virginians expect the state to step up with a significant contribution in order to keep tolls from spiraling out of control.
On education, we know that our Commonwealth is stronger when our children are prepared to compete in the twenty-first century global economy.
The Senate Republican budget failed to fully restore the cost-of-competing funding for Northern Virginia. That money is needed to help educate our children in Northern Virginia.
Yesterday, a one of our Republican colleagues threatened to remove $42 million of cost-of-competing money from the Republican Senate budget.
That is budget blackmail and it is the kind of partisan maneuvering that is preventing us from moving forward. It is the kind of political gamesmanship that is preventing Democrats and Republicans from having a truly bipartisan discussion about our Commonwealth’s priorities.
I am disappointed in the partisan rhetoric of my Republican colleagues. They’re saying what’s theirs is theirs and what’s ours is negotiable. That is not how an equal negotiation works.
Virginians elected 40 members of the Senate, 20 of whom happen to be Democrats and 20 of whom happen to be Republicans. And Virginians expect us to work together and pass a fiscally responsible budget that meets the needs of the Commonwealth.”
Virginia State Senators Mark Herring (D – Loudoun & Fairfax) and Janet Howell (D – Fairfax and Arlington) released the following statement today regarding funding for Phase II of the Dulles Rail Project:
“Extending the Metrorail to Dulles International Airport, and into Loudoun County, is one of the most important transportation projects in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is a project of local, state and national significance.
Completing Phase II of the Dulles Rail Project will accelerate the rate of private investment in the station areas and substantially increase the value of the real estate tax base in Loudoun and Fairfax for the next several decades.
It will link to the 127-mile regional Metrorail system providing access to and from the District of Columbia and regional activity centers including Tysons Corner, Reston, Herndon and, of course Dulles International Airport and the Dulles and Route 28 corridors. It will provide an essential transportation service for our citizens, including federal government employees, and reduce congestion on our roads.
We are encouraged by recent steps taken by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board towards greater transparency. The General Assembly is poised to pass legislation increasing Virginia’s representation on the Airports Authority Board. MWAA has also reversed its decision to require a mandatory project labor agreement for Phase II. In light of these events, now is the time for Virginia to step up and make a significant contribution of funds to Phase II.
Governor McDonnell has agreed to a $150 million contribution. This amount falls woefully short of an acceptable contribution for this public/private partnership. We believe the state needs to significantly increase its contribution to $500 million. We introduced budget amendments this year to accomplish that. Unfortunately, the Senate Finance Committee did not include any funding for Phase II in its budget, nor did the House of Delegates in its Appropriations Committee’s budget.
Increasing our contribution to $500 million is commensurate with the funding commitments the Commonwealth has made to buy down tolls on major transportation projects in Hampton Roads and other public/private partnership projects. The federal government also needs to step up and do its part and a $500 million contribution from Virginia will allow us to better leverage federal funds.
According to a recent toll rate study commissioned by MWAA, tolls along the Dulles Toll Road could double beginning next year if Virginia fails to deliver on its promised $150 million contribution. Tolls for a one-way trip would climb from $2.25 to $4.50. Even with $150 million from the state, tolls would still increase to $2.75. Tolls are expected to reach $6.75 for a one-way trip, without any additional state or federal funds, by 2018.
Now is the time for the state to commit to this project’s completion and we urge Governor McDonnell to support our efforts to increase the state’s contribution to Phase II to $500 million.”
State Senator Mark R. Herring (33rd District, Loudoun & Fairfax)
State Senator Janet Howell (32nd District, Fairfax & Arlington)
Four bills dealing with public safety issues sponsored by Senator Mark Herring (D- Loudoun & Fairfax) passed the Senate today with broad, bipartisan support.
“Providing for the public’s safety is one of government’s core responsibilities,” Senator Herring stated. “I am proud to have worked with many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, as well as law enforcement, prosecutors and a variety of victims’ rights advocates to craft legislation to protect some of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Senator Herring, along with Senator Richard Stuart (R-Stafford) and Senator Jill Vogel (R-Faquier), is Chief Co-Patron of SB 431 that makes it a felony to knowingly financially exploit an older or incapacitated adult. Senator Herring has lead the effort for several years, working with a coalition of groups including the Fairfax County Financial Crimes Division, AARP, Alzheimer’s organizations, Commonwealth Attorneys and concerned citizens, to strengthen Virginia’s laws in this area.
“When I began working on this legislation in 2009, we found that Virginia’s laws were among to weakest in the nation at protecting older Virginians from financial abuse,” Herring said, “After a multi-year effort, I am convinced that this is the year we will finally see this become law.”
SB 431 passed the Senate by a vote of 39-0-1.
Herring, along with Senator Ralph Smith (R-Roanoke, is Chief Co-Patron of SB 273 that amends the law passed last year regarding the criminalization of synthetic cannabinoids and chemicals known as “bath salts” to add newly identified chemical combinations. The bill adds a more generic chemical description of synthetic cannabinoids so that new combinations will be illegal without the precise chemical combination being added to the Code.
“As long as there are individuals out there who are trying to find ways around our laws in order to make a quick buck by selling extremely dangerous drugs to our kids, we need to remain vigilant,” Herring said. “I am continuing to work with law enforcement, forensic scientists and prosecutSors to ensure they have the tools they need to stay one step ahead of the drug makers and dealers.”
SB 273 passed the Senate by a vote of 40-0.
Finally, Senator Herring is the sponsor of two bills that resulted from his work on Governor McDonnell’s Domestic Violence and Response Advisory Board.
SB 224 addresses the decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals from 2010 in U.S. v White. The bill provides that any person who commits a battery through the application of physical force against a family or household member is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. It also ensures that those who are convicted of this domestic violence crime involving physical force are unable to possess a firearm.
SB 224 passed the Senate by a vote of 40-0.
SB 459 toughens the penalty for strangulation, making it a Class 6 felony. “Strangulation is one of the most lethal forms of domestic violence,” Herring stated.
“Strangulation is an extreme form of power and control and in recent years more than 15 states have amended their statutes to address this form of abuse. I was proud to work with the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, among others, on this legislation.”
SB 459 passed the Senate by a vote of 40-0.
Three economic development initiatives sponsored by Senator Mark Herring (D- Loudoun & Fairfax) passed the Senate Finance Committee unanimously this morning.
“One of my top legislative priorities continues to be growing and strengthening Virginia’s innovation economy,” Senator Herring stated. “To accomplish this, we need smart policies, like the bills I have introduced, in order to better compete with other states in attracting high-growth, high-paying jobs to Virginia.”
Senator Herring’s bills that passed the Senate Finance Committee are:
SB 232- Enhances Virginia’s competitiveness in attracting major data center investments. Data center jobs and investment are a critical element in diversifying Virginia’s technology economy and attracting private sector jobs as federal spending and procurement decreases. The bill has the strong support of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce and the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce.
SB 226- Extends the capital gains tax exclusion contained in Senator Herring’s “Virginia Innovation Investment Act”, passed in 2010. This legislation encourages new investment in start-up technology companies by providing 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.
SB 238- Extends for five years Senator Herring’s telework tax credit passed last year. Encouraging telework helps alleviate congestion, allowing employees to spend more time at home with their families and less time stuck in traffic. Currently, there are 174 private sector businesses participating in the Telework!VA program.
Senator Mark Herring (D- Loudoun & Fairfax) announced today a number of legislative proposals and budget initiatives that he will be sponsoring during the 2012 General Assembly session, which began this past Wednesday. To date, Senator Herring has introduced 18 bills and anticipates introducing several more before the January 20th deadline.
Public Safety: Protecting the Vulnerable
Among the highlights of Senator Herring’s legislative package is SB 222, which would make it a crime to knowingly financially exploit an older or incapacitated adult. Senator Herring has lead the effort for several years, working with a coalition of groups including the Fairfax County Financial Crimes Division, AARP, Alzheimer’s organizations, Commonwealth Attorneys and concerned citizens, to strengthen Virginia’s laws in this area.
“When I began working on this legislation in 2009, we found that Virginia’s laws were among to weakest in the nation at protecting older Virginians from financial abuse,” Herring said, “After a multi-year effort, there is now money in the budget to cover the corrections impact. I am convinced that this is the year we will finally see this become law.”
Senator Herring will continue to lead the charge against dangerous designer drugs. He has introduced SB 223 to continue the work started last year with his SB 745 to combat the growing problem of synthetic marijuana and bath salts.
“As long as there are individuals out there who are trying to find ways around our laws in order to make a quick buck by selling extremely dangerous drugs to our kids, we need to remain vigilant,” Herring said. “I am continuing to work with law enforcement, forensic scientists and prosecutors to ensure they have the tools they need to stay one step ahead of the drug makers and dealers.”
Economic Development: Grow and Strengthen Virginia’s Innovation Economy
Continuing his efforts to promote science and technology based economic development, Senator Herring has introduced SB 232. This legislation would enhance Virginia’s competitiveness in attracting major data center investments. SB 232 has the strong support of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce and the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce.
Senator Herring has also introduced legislation that would establish the Commonwealth Innovation Investment Fund. This initiative creates a long-term, dedicated funding source to grow research and technology companies by capturing a percentage of the growth in state revenue from science and innovation companies. It is designed to create jobs, nurture start-ups and bring more science and technology companies to Virginia.
“Much of Virginia’s future economic prosperity will depend on our ability to compete and win in a in a globally competitive, innovation economy,” Herring stated. “We need smart policies, like the bills I am introducing, in order to attract the high-growth, high-paying jobs that the science and technology industries bring.”
Reverse Governor McDonnell’s Cuts to K-12 Education
Governor McDonnell’s introduced budget contains several proposed cuts to K-12 education funding. Senator Herring has introduced budget amendments to reverse these cuts, and restore vital state education funds to Virginia localities.
“The Governor’s proposed cuts would be very detrimental to our children and to the quality of their education,” Herring said.
“One of the budget amendments I have introduced would reverse Governor McDonnell’s unfair elimination of the cost of competing adjustment for support personnel in Northern Virginia. Currently, the state budget recognizes that the higher cost of living in Northern Virginia results in higher costs for the school divisions in our region. By proposing to eliminate this adjustment, Northern Virginia localities stand to lose $65 million over the biennium that would have to be made up by increases in local property taxes.”
Senator Herring is also seeking to reverse other proposed cuts in public school funding included in Governor McDonnell’s budget. Herring has proposed budget amendments that would restore $217 million in direct aid to public schools throughout the state.
Additionally, Senator Herring has introduced two other education related budget initiatives. One would provide start-up funding for Loudoun County Public Schools to implement a full-day kindergarten program. Another would boost funding for career and technical education throughout Virginia.
Support Phase II of the Dulles Rail Project
Senator Herring continues to support the completion of Phase II of the Dulles Rail Project.
“Extending the Metro to Dulles Airport and into Loudoun County is a federal, state and local priority,” Herring said. “Localities have already indicated their willingness to participate financially, and now it’s time the state step up and contribute more to the project in order to keep toll rates from skyrocketing. That is why I have introduced a budget amendment seeking $500 million in state transportation funds for Phase II.”
Previously, Governor McDonnell has announced $500 million in state funding for a Hampton Roads bridge-tunnel project and $400 million for turning Rt. 460 between Petersburg and Suffolk into a highway, in both cases to buy down tolls.
“If Virginia can spend almost $1 billion to buy down tolls elsewhere in the state, it can come up with more funds to support a project as significant as the Dulles Rail Project,” Herring stated.
State Senator Mark Herring (D-Loudoun & Fairfax) today released the following statement regarding the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors vote this week to request that the General Assembly grant the county the authority to impose a variety of new taxes including a meals tax:
“This week, the new Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted 5-4 to request that the General Assembly grant them the authority to impose a meals tax.
In the last decade, the citizens of Loudoun County have voted down a meals tax by referendum three times. A meals tax is a regressive tax that would unnecessarily burden low and middle-income families already struggling to make ends meet in this difficult economy.
The General Assembly should not attempt such an end-run around the voters of Loudoun County who have spoken clearly and repeatedly on this issue. I will not introduce, nor will I support, legislation granting this new taxing authority to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.”
Thank you. One week ago today, all of your hard work paid off and we achieved a convincing victory. I am extremely grateful for your continued trust and support.
I am also very proud of the campaign we ran. We outlined a positive vision for our future and remained focused on the key issues our area faces – jobs and the economy, transportation and education.
Most of all, we talked about the need for leaders to roll up their sleeves, put partisan politics aside, and work together to deliver results. I’m proud of my record of doing just that, and I’m eager to continue putting that philosophy to work in the Senate.
Serving you in the Virginia Senate is a tremendous honor and privilege. I am humbled by the confidence that you and the voters have placed in me. There’s a lot to do in the months and years ahead, and I’ll need your continued help and support along the way. Again, thank you and let’s get started!
Several key local and state organizations have endorsed Senator Mark Herring’s (D-Loudoun & Fairfax) reelection to the Virginia State Senate. Among those endorsing Senator Herring are:
- The Northern Virginia Technology Council
- NOVA BizPAC (political arm of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce)
- National Federation of Independent Business
- Northern Virginia Association of Realtors
- Dulles Area Association of Realtors
- Virginia Education Association
- Loudoun Education Association
- Fairfax Education Association
- Virginia Farm Bureau Ag PAC
- Virginia Professional Firefighters Association
- Fairfax County Professional Firefighters & Paramedics Association
- Virginia Police Benevolent Association
Said Senator Herring of the endorsements:
“I am proud to have earned the endorsement of so many important organizations both here in Northern Virginia, and across the Commonwealth. These groups recognize that I have a strong record of putting partisan politics aside and working together to find solutions and that I have successfully delivered results for the 33rd District and Northern Virginia. I look forward to continuing this approach if I am privileged to be reelected on November 8th.”
State Senator Mark Herring will participate in a free webinar on Friday September 30, 2011, from 9:30 am – 10:45 am, hosted by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), to educate businesses on the new tax credit legislation aimed at encouraging private sector telework.
Virginia’s new telework tax credit, sponsored by Sen. Herring during the 2011 General Assembly session, provides for a tax credit of up to $1,200 per employee, up to $50,000 per organization, for eligible telework expenses incurred during taxable years 2012 and 2013.
“Telework takes cars off the road, improves employee productivity and allows workers to spend more time at home with their families and less time stuck in traffic,” Senator Herring said. “It’s a win-win.”
The webinar will provide additional information on the tax credit, the requirements to pre-apply and qualify for the credit, and how telework practically applies in the organizational setting.
To register for the webinar, and for more information on the new telework tax credit, visit this website. Pre-applications for the tax credit are due to the Department of Taxation by October 31, 2011