July News from the Virginia Chamber
Many Virginians are looking forward to celebrating the fourth of July this weekend. This year’s celebration will be special as we are beginning to enjoy new freedoms from Covid-19 lockdowns and quarantines. I wish each of you an enjoyable holiday weekend as we gather to celebrate this Independence Day and the birth of our nation.
On June 10, the Virginia Chamber released the Blueprint Virginia 2030 Statewide Survey. The goal of this survey is to ensure statewide representation of the priorities outlined within Blueprint Virginia 2030. The Virginia Chamber Foundation invites members of the business, economic development, workforce, education, and housing communities, as well as other community representatives from across the Commonwealth to provide input through the Blueprint Virginia 2030 Statewide Survey. Individuals from all regions of the Commonwealth are encouraged to complete the Blueprint Virginia 2030 Statewide survey by Friday, July 30, 2021. The results will be used to inform the policy recommendations of Blueprint Virginia 2030. The final policy document will be presented to the Governor-elect.
In addition to the Blueprint Virginia 2030 Statewide Survey, the Virginia Chamber Foundation has continued the Blueprint Virginia 2030 Regional Tour in partnership with local chambers of commerce around Virginia, GO Virginia, and VEDA. These meetings serve to foster greater regional collaboration by creating a platform for regional representatives to provide input for Virginia’s next statewide strategic plan.
Registered participants can also complete the survey for the region in which they registered. Each regional meeting has a separate survey to ensure we are collecting comprehensive regional feedback for Blueprint Virginia 2030. In June, the Virginia Chamber Foundation hosted the virtual meetings for GO Virginia Regions 4 and 6. Our next virtual meeting will be hosted on Wednesday, July 21 in GO Virginia Region 7. Additional details and registration information on the Regional Tour can be found by visiting our website.
Earlier this month, I wrote an op-ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch highlighting the many concerns surrounding the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. Despite its name, this legislation is anything but positive. It is a union wish list of anti-business policies that ultimately harm both businesses and workers. The PRO Act has gone relatively unchecked to this point, having already passed the House of Representatives on a partisan vote. A split U.S. Senate is all that stands between the bill and its enactment.
Thankfully, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., has refrained from co-sponsoring the PRO Act, helping to keep the bill from being heard on the Senate floor. The Virginia business community greatly appreciates Senator Warner’s posture and thoughtfulness on the bill. As the country and Virginia recovers from the pandemic, legislation like the PRO Act is the last thing our businesses and communities need. Read the full Op-Ed here.
A survey released earlier this week, conducted by Forbes Tate Partners, revealed that nearly eight out of 10 (72 percent) voters are concerned about repealing Virginia’s right-to-work protections for workers and forcing them to pay union dues or risk losing their job. More information can be found below.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, more than 4.3 million Virginians are fully vaccinated and today, July 1st, the state of emergency, which was declared on March 12, 2020, will come to an end. While all COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, the Permanent Standard enacted by the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board (the Board) is still in place, and there is uncertainty regarding the impact these actions will have on the Permanent Standard that employers are still mandated to follow. In May, I sent a letter to the Governor requesting clarity. The Board met earlier this week to discuss if the Standard will be removed or amended. They are expected to vote on several amendments at their next meeting. The Virginia Chamber will continue to monitor the activities of the Board and provide updates as new information becomes available.
Additionally, there are several new laws, passed during the 2021 General Assembly Session, that went into effect at midnight, including the legalization of marijuana. Included in this year’s budget passed by the General Assembly is a new requirement on unitary businesses. Unitary businesses subject to Virginia income tax are required to file a pro forma report for taxable year 2019 to the Department of Taxation. This report is due by tonight, July 1, 2021. Failure to meet this deadline may result in a $10,000 fine.
Governor Northam has called the Virginia General Assembly to meet for a special session on Monday, August 2nd. The purpose of this special session is to fill judicial vacancies and allocate the more than $4.3 billion Virginia will receive as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). On Monday, June 21st, I sent a letter to Governor Northam outlining the Virginia Chamber's list of priorities for funding under the ARPA. You can read the full letter below or by following this link.
Last week, Congresswoman Spanberger, along with several of her colleagues, introduced the Strengthening Unemployment Programs to Provide Opportunities for Recovery and Training (SUPPORT) for New Workers Act. Businesses are struggling to fill available positions which has greatly impacted their ability to grow and serve their customers. We need to be doing all that we can to support businesses and encourage more workers to return to work. This legislation offers an innovative approach to incentivize more workers to return while not creating additional barriers or burdens for employers. The Virginia Chamber appreciates Congresswoman Spanberger’s bipartisan efforts on this initiative and would encourage others to support its passage. The full bill text can be found here.
I would like to conclude this Chamber Briefings by once again wishing you all a safe and happy 4th of July weekend, as we celebrate the birth of our nation.
Blueprint Virginia 2030 Statewide Survey Now Open!
To ensure statewide representation of the priorities outlined within Blueprint Virginia 2030, the Virginia Chamber Foundation invites members of the business, economic development, workforce, education, and housing communities, as well as other community representatives from across the Commonwealth to provide input through the Blueprint Virginia 2030 Statewide Survey.
Individuals from all regions of the Commonwealth are encouraged to complete the Blueprint Virginia 2030 Statewide Survey by Friday, July 30, 2021.
This survey is 36 questions in length and should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. While we hope you will complete the entire survey, you are welcome to respond only to questions applicable to you and/or your organization.
The results of this survey will be used to inform the policy recommendations of Blueprint Virginia 2030. The results along with the final policy document will be presented to the Governor-elect as part of the Virginia Economic Summit scheduled for
Friday, December 3, 2021.