Legislative Update

Bills Introduced for the 2017 Session    as of 04/20/17   Bills Disposed as of 02/28/17 

Final Report 2017 Session

Bill Activity from the 2016 Regular Session

Bills that were Disposed in the  2016 Session

Legislative Summaries from TAX

How a Bill Becomes Law

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Dateline 2/6/17

For Details of the Association position on Budget see: dateline 1/25/17

The Senate Finance and House Appropriations Committees completed their respective budgets yesterday.  The highlights are as follows:

CDP

The Senate version (SB900) maintains full funding for Career Development Programs that was proposed in the Governor’s introduced budget bill.  The House version (HB1500) removes all funding from the budget bill for CDP and redirected that funding to support a proposed 2% across-the-board salary increase for all constitutional officers and their employees in FY18.  Reconciliation of these differences will be a matter for consideration by the Conference committee.

Salaries

Both the SFC and HAC amendments provide for a 2% salary increase for all constitutional officers and regional jail superintendents and their Compensation Board funded employees, effective August 1, 2017, in lieu of the proposed 1.5% bonus included in the introduced budget.  Both the SFC and HAC proposed a 3% salary increase for state employees.  While all the specific details have not been published, it does not appear that these increases are contingent upon revenues.

Copies of the budget amendments will be available tomorrow (Feb. 7th) at noon, which is also crossover. Both houses will vote on their respective budgets on Thurs., (Feb. 9th). On Wed., (Feb. 15th) both house will then vote on, and likely reject, the others budget.  A Committee of Conference will be appointed to work out the differences. The deadline for their work is Tues., Feb. 21st. The Conference Report will be available on Thurs. (Feb. 23rd). A final vote on the Budget Conference Report will take place on Sat., Feb. 25th, the 2017 GA session will then adjourn, Sine Die.

Please contact your legislator immediately and ask them to support the Senate version of the budget.  Cleary, the Senate version maintains full funding for CDP and grants us a 2% salary increase.  If your legislator is one of the likely budget conferees, it is imperative that you make your feelings known to them now on these critical issues:

The likely House and Senate Conferees are:

House Budget Conferees (likely)

  • S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk)
  • R. Steven “Steve” Landes (R-Augusta)
  • M. Kirkland “Kirk” Cox (R-Colonial Heights)
  • John M. O’Bannon, III (R-Henrico)
  • Thomas A. “Tag” Greason (R-Loudoun)
  • Luke E. Torian (D-Prince William)

Senate Budget Conferees (likely)

  • Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-District 3)
  • Emmett W. Hanger, Jr. (R-District 24)
  • Janet D. Howell (D-District 32)
  • Richard L. Saslaw (D-District 35)
  • Stephen D. Newman (R-District 23)
  • Frank M. Ruff, Jr. (R-District 15)
  • Frank W. Wagner (R-District 7)

President Lori, Ross Mugler, Madeline Abbitt, Charlie Crowson, and I, will be meeting with the above individuals later this week along with our other constitutional officer colleagues.  It is much easier for us to engage these individuals if they have heard from you first.

One final thing, last week largely because of your efforts, HB2104, a very bad bill for localities, was referred to the Appropriations Committee where it will likely remain (i.e. it is dead).  This was no small accomplishment.  We went up against a very powerful lobby in the Virginia Manufacturers Association, and won!  Please be sure to thank your legislator for standing with you and your locality on this important issue. Also, give yourselves a pat on the back.

 

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Dateline 1/26/17

Please contact your Delegate immediately and ask them to vote “NO” on HB 2104 (Byron) and HB 2447 (Marshall).

HB 2104 – Machinery and tools tax; valuation, appeal of certain local taxes:   

Violates the principle of “uniformity” in assessment methodology established in Article X Sect. 1 & 2, of Virginia Constitution – a) Permits the taxpayer to effectively choose the method of assessment on individual pieces of equipment; b) Same piece of equipment will be valued differently for different companies;  c)  a business can have equipment assessed by three different methods on property within the same assessment. (see lines 184 – 186).

  1. Expands the Commonwealth’s authority over local taxation by limiting the authority and discretion of local officials, in particular based on valuation. The Virginia Department of Taxation nor the Tax Commissioner has the experience or expertise in evaluating Business Personal Property (BPP) or Machinery & Tools. (by the Tax Depts. est., $100,000 in addtl. FTE). The valuation of BPP and M&T is much more complex than is real property.
  2. Is labor intensive.  Likewise, localities do not have the resources to institute this type of valuation methodology (est. $10,000,000 local addtl. FTE).
  3. Is redundant in many aspects – a) Local officials are already required to take into account technological obsolescence per section §58.1-3503; b) Taxpayers are already permitted to appeal to both the Tax Commissioner and Circuit Court. The bill will add an unnecessary layer of appeal.

House Finance Committee Members:

 Ware (Chairman), Cline (Vice Chair), Orrock, Byron, Cole, Hugo, Marshall, R.G., Pogge, Head, Farrell, Fariss, Fowler, Bloxom, Freitas, Holcomb, Watts, Keam, Filler-Corn, Kory, Sullivan, Murphy, Heretick

 

HB2447 – Motor vehicles, local licensure; eliminates ability of a locality to assess local license fees:

Two-hundred-thirty-seven (237) Virginia localities (34 cities, 85 counties, 118 towns) currently impose the Motor Vehicle License Tax (Source: Virginia Local Tax Rates 2015; Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service). The overall statewide impact is a loss of more than $200 million in revenues to localities (Source: Auditor of Public Accounts, Commonwealth Data Point).

The bill, as drafted, eliminates Commissioner of the Revenue and Treasurer access to “law enforcement databases” (i.e. DMV database). (see lines 139-144).

House Transportation Committee Members:

Villanueva (Chairman), Hugo (Vice Chair), Garrett, Habeeb, Anderson, Minchew, Yancey, Dudenhefer, LeMunyon, Davis, Austin, LaRock, Pillion, Adams, Collins, Ward, Toscano, McQuinn, Carr, Filler-Corn, Plum, Bagby

For those of you who have a member on one of the above committees, please REPORT BACK TO ME the response you receive from your Delegate.

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Dateline 1/25/17

Virginia Commissioners of the Revenue Association  2017 Legislative Agenda

Virginia’s elected Commissioners of the Revenue are making every effort to better serve the Commonwealth and its citizens by providing efficient and innovative revenue administration at both the state and local levels.

In brief, we are committed to providing services to the citizens in each of our localities while simultaneously enhancing state and local revenues at little to no cost.

We are seeking your consideration and support for the following budget priorities:

Item #1 – Commissioners of the Revenue Career Development

  • Provide (FY18) career development program (CDP) funding for 12 principal officers and 106 deputies who have qualified for the program but remain unfunded, some as long as seven years.

                                                                                             FY18

Approximate cost                                                        $223,906

Item #2 – 3% Salary Increase for Commissioners of Revenue eff. July 2018

  • Provide (FY18) a 3% salary increase for commissioners of the revenue and state supported deputies of commissioners of the revenue:

                                                                                           FY18

Commissioners of Revenue                                        $493,793

 

The following illustrates the cost of providing a 3% salary increase to the four other constitutional officer groups, included are Directors of Finance:

                                                              FY18

Circuit Court Clerks                    $1,275,634

Commonwealth’s Attorneys      $1,937,658

Sheriffs/Regional Jails            $12,449,338

Treasurers                                       $466,304

Finance Directors                           $151,740

Notes:

All Base Salary amounts used to calculate salary increase costs were based on State Compensation Board approved reimbursable salaries effective July 2016 with the exception of the elected Commissioner, elected Treasurer, and appointed Finance Director. In order to maintain the local-responsible portion of elected Treasurers, elected Commissioners, and appointed Finance Directors at 50% of their 1980 local salary, any state-funded salary increases are based on 100% of the cost to increase to their budgeted salaries plus benefits. Similarly, state approved employees of these offices are funded 50% by the state and 50% by the locality.

Sheriffs and Regional Jails – Staff Base Salary include annual salaries of new jail positions for jail construction projects in Central Virginia and Pamunkey Regional Jails, both of which are scheduled and funded to open in FY17. Positions required to staff the Chesapeake City Jail expansion project that is scheduled to be completed in FY18 are not included as funding has not been approved by the General Assembly at this time.

Salary base excludes $1,000 city/county combined office salary supplements for 10 Sheriffs and 13 Commonwealth’s Attorneys which are not part of their base salary for increases.

Circuit Court Clerks benefits are paid at 2/3rds of the approved benefits rates. The salaries of the Newport News, Richmond and Roanoke Clerks and their staff are excluded as these offices do not receive state support.

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Dateline 1/12/16   (Note: revised 1/14 to reflect Comp Board change in 2% salary increase for FY18)

Virginia Commissioners of the Revenue Association 2016 Legislative Agenda

Virginia’s elected Commissioners of the Revenue are making every effort to better serve the Commonwealth and its citizens by providing efficient and innovative revenue administration at both the state and local levels.

In brief, we are committed to providing services to the citizens in each of our localities while simultaneously enhancing state and local revenues at little to no cost.

We are seeking your consideration and support for the following budget priorities:

Item #1 – 2% Salary Increase for Constitutional Officers eff. August 1, 2017

Budget Bill HB 30/SB30 (Introduced) Item 475 P.1 & R.1.a

Administration FY 17 FY 18

Compensation Board $0 $10,123,818 GF

Explanation:

P.1. The Governor is hereby authorized to allocate a sum of up to $11,800,000 (Constitutional Officers) the second year from this appropriation to the extent necessary to offset any downward revisions of the general fund revenue estimate prepared for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 after the enactment by the General Assembly of the 2016 Appropriation Act or 2017 Appropriation Act. If within 5 days of the preliminary close of the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2017, the Comptroller’s analysis does not determine that a revenue re-forecast is required pursuant to § 2.2-1503.3, Code of Virginia, then such appropriation shall be used only for employee compensation purposes as stated in paragraphs Q. and R., below.

R.1. Contingent on the provisions of paragraph P.1. above, the appropriations in this Item include funds to increase the base salary of the following employees by two percent on August 1, 2017, provided that the governing authority of such employees certifies that the listed employees will receive the stated pay increase.

  1. Locally-elected constitutional officers;

Item #2 – Commissioners of the Revenue Career Development

Budget Bill HB 30/SB30 (Introduced) Item 72 D & E

Provide (FY17) career development program (CDP) funding for 14 principal officers and 102 deputies who have qualified for the program but remain unfunded, some as long as seven years. (Approximate cost $475,228 in FY17 & FY 18)

Administration FY 17 FY 18

Compensation Board $237,614 $237,614

Item #3 – Burden of Proof & Arbitration in Real Estate Assessments

Burden of Proof – Commissioners of the Revenue oppose any efforts to alter the burden of proof in real estate assessments. Our main objection to this bill was that it shifted the burden of proof from the taxpayer to the assessor.

  • Losing the HISTORICAL presumption of correctness of real estate assessments would be a disaster for local government, and also sets a precedent for all other assessments (e.g. Personal Property). In almost all states, including Virginia, assessments are deemed prima facie correct and the burden of proving otherwise falls on the taxpayer.
  • An appeals process has been in place since the 2012 GA Session and agreed to by VML, VaCO, Virginia Association of Assessing Officers (VAAO), Commissioners of the Revenue, and the Virginia Association of Realtors.
  • Localities utilize a Mass Assessment process that is professional, inherently conservative, uniform and fair. Most assessors, even in smaller localities, have state licenses, professional designations, as well as years of experience and continuing education.
  • Any change would favor wealthy commercial owners who have the resources to litigate AND wealthy localities who have the resources to fight assessments. Smaller businesses and localities would not have the resources to litigate or defend these actions.
  • Any change will only encourage litigation and will dramatically increase the number of appeals and lawsuits, including frivolous lawsuits. The main beneficiaries would be attorneys and MAI fee appraisers (called as expert witnesses).

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Dateline 12/17/15

The Governor has included in his budget full funding ($369,928) for career development programs for Commissioners and Treasurers, as we requested. In addition, his budget proposal includes a 2% raise ($15.6 million) for all constitutional officers to take effect Aug. 1, 2017 provided certain economic benchmarks are met. 

Our objective is now to keep these items in the budget.  Additional instructions and information on this will follow.

 

 

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