By Delegate Rob Bloxom
Listen to this report:
Happy New Year from Richmond. I am happy to report from the Capitol at the start of the 2019 session. It is the “short” session being only 45 days. Many bills and budget amendments are being finalized and we officially start at noon on the ninth with Governor Northam addressing a joint assembly that evening. We will then be off to the races to consider the business of the commonwealth.
There will be a multitude of bills and issues we are confronted with but none will be as pressing or as complicated as tax code conformity. CPAs and tax preparers are anxiously awaiting our decision so they can prepare tax returns. The issue is the Trump federal tax cuts are for five years, and we usually conform to any federal tax code changes. However this time the moves we make or do not make will affect state revenues to the tune of one billion dollars. Increased revenues sound great and are able to fund noble projects and ideas, but when they come from higher taxes and those higher taxes could only be for the next four years, it seems foolish to create new programs or raises based on revenues that could disappear. The extra money comes from the state disallowing depreciation schedules and deduction allowances. There are many proposals to fix this but I cannot guess at the direction we will go especially since we need 80 percent to pass it as an emergency bill so that our accountants may get to work and prepare our tax returns.
The Governor has proposed his budget amendments and has spent the extra money. We appreciate his staff’s work at his direction but I do not envision a lot of his proposals coming to fruition. There are a few projects that affect the 100th District that I will be following, and if the revenues are there without increasing taxes, I will be advocating them.
Thank you and again, Happy New Year!