HOUSING, WORKING & BUSINESS

Although the General Assembly approved a $83.5 million budget amendment this session, in part to extend passenger rail service deeper into Southwest Virginia, that doesn’t change the fact that there isn’t a train station or even a platform in the New River Valley. However, legislation from local lawmakers that...
The General Assembly passed legislation Saturday that would forgive an estimated $18 million in unemployment insurance claims the state says it erroneously paid out amid the pandemic and has since been attempting to claw back.The bill’s sponsor, Del. Sally Hudson, D-Charlottesville, said it was unfair to send collections notices...
When the General Assembly voted last year to ramp up Virginia’s minimum wage to $12, agricultural employees were among a handful of groups excluded from the increase --- an exemption that traces its roots to Jim Crow-era segregation.Lawmakers in the Senate said Monday they stand by that decision, voting...
Because COVID-19 hasn’t hit Virginia’s economy as hard as officials thought it might, Gov. Ralph Northam says policymakers will have an extra $730 million to work with as they finalize the next state budget.Instead of building that revenue into a spending plan that includes raises for public employees and...
A proposal that would halt efforts to claw back millions of dollars in unemployment benefits mistakenly paid to out-of-work Virginians is advancing in the General Assembly --- one of the only surviving measures aimed at addressing the state’s struggle to administer jobless benefits amid the pandemic.The bill would forgive...
Tacky trailers or the new face of affordable housing? That’s the debate policy-makers and advocates are having across Virginia as they work to figure out what role manufactured units should play in addressing the commonwealth’s affordable housing crisis.So far the biggest challenge has been that no one knows exactly...
To the Mercury:Midway through 2020, the United Nations announced that in just five short months, the global travel and tourism industry lost more than $320 billion — three times what was lost in 2009 at the height of the financial crisis. As we look to turn a corner in the pandemic,...
In the name of consumer protection, Virginia lawmakers are considering a trio of bills intended to give victims more power to recoup costs after car crashes, a push the insurance industry says could raise premiums for drivers at a time when many can’t afford it due to the COVID-19...
WASHINGTON— The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in a report Monday found a gradual increase to a $15 federal minimum wage by 2025 would reduce poverty, add $54 billion to the deficit over a decade and increase pay for millions of low-income workers.The report could help Democrats make a strong case...
President Joe Biden wants to supercharge the sputtering economy, vaccinate millions of Americans against COVID-19, and help people by issuing another round of stimulus checks. He and members of Congress are grappling with the best way to do that, and Republicans have offered less-expensive alternatives to the president’s $1.9...