By Delegate Rob Bloxom
Hi, this is Delegate Rob Bloxom with this week’s Capitol report from Richmond. The budget from the House and another one from the Senate were presented Sunday. This will prove to be a challenging week as we will be debating and passing our budget to the other chamber. I am pleased that the House took a conservative approach and put more money in the reserve account. The historic collections of the state have given us much money to spend and we did a very good job spending it. On the contrary, taxpayers will not receive a tax rebate as the Republicans provided last year.
House bills that brought forth much emotion and debate were the bills related to hourly minimum wage. The House took away the farm exemption and instituted a yearly increase to rise to $15 per hour by the year 2025.
Another bill that sparked much emotion was one dealing with monuments. It was determined by the House that a simple majority vote at the local level could decide the fate of any historical monument.
A few more bills that were passed by the democratic majority in the House of Delegates include a driver’s license bill for non-residents, a ban on certain types of guns and their magazine size, and a tax on plastic bags. Like so many other bills, this particular one is much more complicated than it sounds. Depending on what is purchased and put in the bag, determines whether the bag will be taxed five cents. The House version of this bill has the money going back to Richmond to be spent by the bureaucrats there, which seems quite absurd in my opinion. To me, it would be much more sensible for the tax revenue to be directed to the locality for litter control.
I have never been as thankful for the Senate as I have been this year. Fortunately, the members of the Senate are putting a halt to much legislation where a lot of common sense is lacking on my House side.
It has been a pleasure seeing my constituents from home as well as Norfolk in the last week, and as usual I encourage you to contact me with your questions or concerns. I can be reached at 804-698-1100 or by email at DelRBloxom@house.virginia.gov.