As we have now passed the most crucial point in the Virginia legislative session, what we call “crossover,” where both the House and Senate finish their work on legislation and pass bills approved in one chamber over to the other, the Democrat agenda has now been fully revealed to all of Virginia.
On the night of “crossover,” Feb. 11, the Democrat-led Senate worked late into the night, rushing through a radical and liberal agenda that, if passed by the House and approved by the governor, will cause irreparable harm to the commonwealth of Virginia.
Crossover historically can be a long workday in the Senate chamber, but this year far exceeded any such day before in recent General Assembly history. Because of the Democrat liberal legislative agenda, we did not adjourn until 12:48 a.m., some 14 hours after we started our day on the floor. And then, late into the night when most of the press and public had left the Senate chamber, and while most Virginians slept, the Senate Democrats passed some of the most significant liberal-leftist legislation the commonwealth has ever seen.
Why did the Democrats wait so late in the session to pass their liberal agenda, you might ask? Well, in part, the Democrat majority put off many of its most consequential — and controversial — bills until late in the legislative process. The other challenge was late changes to those bills — sometimes 80 pages in length — in an attempt to quell objections and assuage concerns. The combination of those two factors led to lengthy debates as Democrat senators had to defend their bills and answer questions about the last-minute changes made to them. Those bills passed along party lines, 21 to 19, over and over.
When their litany of bills become law and go into effect on July 1, it is going to cost your family a lot more to live in Virginia than it does today.
The Democrats have a new transportation scheme that raises the gas tax by 15-cents per gallon over the next two years in most of the state. Those living in the areas where higher gas taxes are already in place because of the 2013 transportation tax hike will see their gas taxes rise a little less since they’re already paying higher taxes. But, most of Virginia will see an 86% increase in the gas tax over the next two years. And, the tax will continue to automatically increase every year thereafter.
They also approved a “Green New Deal” energy bill that will result in higher prices on electricity. The plan is to have consumers pay more in their monthly electric utility bills to finance “renewables” like wind and solar. The estimates of what the average family will pay for this range from $23 to $50 on their power bill per month. But more importantly, this Virginia “Green New Deal” will be devastating to our region, and will be equally devastating to our family farms and small businesses.
The Democrats also approved along party lines higher personal and real property taxes to be levied at the local level. Even though the local governments didn’t ask for it, and in fact opposed it, the House and Senate approved bills that will end the prohibition on collective bargaining for government employees, thereby creating the likely scenario of essential local government services (including our public schools) could be interrupted for significant periods of time during a union strike.
For its first four centuries, Virginia’s General Assembly often established a record that had other states following its lead. Over the last two decades, that leadership has been on display as other states have emulated the policies that made Virginia America’s best state for business and one of the best to raise a family.
This year, it is Virginia that is following the lead of other states. Unfortunately, we are following the leads of California, Illinois, New Jersey and New York. I fear that our status as one of the best states in the union to do business will suffer dramatically as a result of these job-killing liberal policies.
Despite our current situation here at the Capitol, my staff and I have been continuing to work, non-stop, to serve every citizen of our district. Whether you visit us at our office at the Capitol, or call us on the phone with a particular viewpoint, or have a personal need that we can help you with, that is always our most important responsibility.
Our office is located on the fifth floor (E504) in the Pocahontas building directly across from the Visitor’s entrance to the Capitol on Bank Street. Please stop by and say hello if you are visiting the Capitol.