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County Board Approves Legislative Priorities

By Katie Pyzyk - ARLNow.com

Wednesday - 12/12/2012, 5:00pm  ET

The County Board has approved a revised list of legislative priorities for the 2013 General Assembly session. As anticipated, the focus is to reverse some of the funding cuts Arlington has experienced in recent years.

Board members first presented a draft of the priorities at November’s Board meeting, noting that balancing the state budget will prove to be a major issue. Board members requested that the state restore at least some of the $7.2 million that was cut between fiscal year (FY) 2008 and FY 2013 to balance the state budget.

One of the major areas the members hope to receive funding is for transportation. The Board wishes to secure funding for new projects as well as some for maintenance of existing modes of transit.

Arlington is also seeking the power to collect local transient occupancy (hotel) taxes from online travel companies like Expedia and Orbitz, and asking that state legislators “oppose any state mandates to localities requiring local law enforcement officers to evaluate the immigration status of individuals encountered during lawful stops or other routine police activities.”

Other priorities include housing, human services and the environment.

Since November’s meeting, county staff members have been collecting public recommendations for changes or additions to the draft. Based on those suggestions, those of Board members and a work session with the Arlington General Assembly delegation, eight changes were made. Among those legislative requests:

  • Requesting that Virginia pass a law in order to join the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Program, which allows the collection of local sales tax on internet and mail order sales.
  • Requesting that transportation funding formulas not be adjusted in a way that reduces revenue to Northern Virginia
  • Requiring nursing homes and long-time care facilities to have auxiliary power generators and adequate emergency sheltering and evacuation plans

The Board unanimously approved the legislative priorities.

This year’s General Assembly session begins on January 9, 2013 and is scheduled to last for 45 days.