HOUSING, WORKING & BUSINESS

Virginia’s tax policy discussions center on the middle class, but what does ‘middle class’ mean?

BY: - February 5, 2019

What defines Virginia’s low- and middle-income residents is at the heart of a heated debate about taxes. Democrats and Gov. Ralph Northam want to adjust tax policy to benefit what they’ve called low-income Virginians while Republicans want to focus on tax relief for the middle class. But based on income data, both plans would benefit […]

Anti-NIMBY legislation aims to clear path for affordable housing in Virginia

BY: - January 22, 2019

Virginia is facing a growing shortage of affordable housing, but apartment developments aiming to fill that gap often don’t make it far when they come before local governments for approval. “You hear things as offensive as, ‘We don’t want those people in our neighborhoods,’” says Del. Jeff Bourne, D-Richmond. “The implicit and explicit NIMBYism that […]

State Sen. Tommy Norment

Bi-partisan support for $15 minimum wage vanishes and a political ploy appears in Va. Senate

BY: - January 21, 2019

Republicans in the Virginia Senate voted down a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour on Monday afternoon in a bit of political theater apparently scripted with the November elections in mind. The bill only got to the Senate floor because two Republicans, Majority Leader Tommy Norment and Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia […]

Reporters-turned-delegates push for Virginia’s first shield law to protect journalists

BY: - January 14, 2019

Two former journalists want to give reporters in Virginia protections if they refuse to reveal confidential sources. Del. Danica Roem, D-Manassas, was the lead reporter of the Gainesville Times and Prince William Times in Northern Virginia from 2006-2015. Roem introduced the same proposal — called a shield law — last year, which was her first session […]

Surprise bi-partisan vote sends bill to raise minimum wage to full Senate

BY: - January 14, 2019

A bill that would eventually raise Virginia’s minimum wage to $15 an hour will go before the full Senate after a surprise bi-partisan vote Monday. “That Virginia is getting more expensive is something we need to look at as we go along,” said Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, who chairs the Senate’s Commerce and Labor […]

Va. senators push legislation to secure miners’ benefits

BY: - January 8, 2019

WASHINGTON — Virginia Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are trying to ensure pensions and health care benefits for coal miners at risk of losing them. The senators last week introduced the American Miners Act of 2019 along with several of their Democratic colleagues. Their legislation aims to shore up a 1974 United Mine […]

COMMENTARY

Amazon gives Virginia the opportunity to build a 21st century transportation network

BY: - January 8, 2019

With the recent announcement that Amazon is bringing 25,000-plus high-paying jobs to Crystal City in Northern Virginia, I believe now is the perfect opportunity to move the commonwealth’s transportation system into the 21st century. Now is a great time to move away from the “more roads” transportation plan to an “all-of-the-above” plan. The reasons: A) driving […]

LOOKING AHEAD: Will budget concerns sink eviction diversion program or will lawmakers go further?

BY: - January 7, 2019

Next in a series looking ahead to the General Assembly session that starts this week. An unprecedented study released earlier this year by researchers at Princeton University put Virginia on blast: The state’s cities have among the highest eviction rates in the country. In the months that followed, policy makers, tenant advocates and housing industry […]

Looming budget battle: Northam’s spending plan relies on tax changes Republicans say hurt the middle class

BY: - December 18, 2018

Gov. Ralph Northam has proposed a $2.1 billion increase to Virginia’s $117 billion budget passed earlier this year to support new education funding, broadband investment, cleaner waterways and making the earned income tax credit refundable for some taxpayers, among other spending hikes. “We’re taking this opportunity to make investments that we’ve discussed for years,” Northam said […]

Cows graze in Tazewell County. One dairy farm a week has closed in Virginia this year. (Josh/Flickr/Creative Commons 2.0)

Virginia’s losing one dairy farm a week. Can cheese save the industry?

BY: - December 18, 2018

Cline Brubaker bought his dad’s dairy farm in 1967, but he has no plans to entice his own children into the family business. He shut down his farm in October after more than 50 years of milking cows and plans to begin selling off his land. “I haven’t made money since 2009,” he says via […]

New proposed food-sales threshold for Virginia’s liquor-ratio rule won’t help small businesses, owners say

BY: - December 6, 2018

Billy Baldwin has owned his restaurant along Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront strip for 16 years. He’s added entertainment to attract wandering tourists and offers deals like $2 tacos to draw people in. Still, there are some years Baldwin says he takes a loss because of Virginia’s liquor ratio requirement, which requires that a minimum of 45 […]

Rep for Va. Supreme Court chief calls proposed eviction-diversion program ‘incredibly expensive window dressing’

BY: - November 29, 2018

A proposed eviction-diversion program is facing strong opposition from the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, whose representative called it “incredibly expensive window dressing.” The remarks came Wednesday during a meeting of a sub-committee of the Virginia Housing Commission, which has spent the last six months reviewing potential legislation to address the highest-in-the-nation […]