Modifying taxes, protecting rights and more

Published 1:40 pm Thursday, February 1, 2018

The pace has definitely picked up here in Richmond, and meetings are lasting longer each day. Legislation is passing through subcommittees at a rapid pace, which makes your emails even more important so that I can get a good feel on proposed legislation. Today I will focus on some of the bills we are working on.

Del. James Edmunds

HB 222 modification to state and corporate income tax

I have been working with Del. Will Morefield, from southwest Virginia, over the summer to craft HB 222 (and I am co-patron of the bill) into something that would benefit rural areas and help to create jobs.

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Briefly, if passed, this bill, as is now written, will allow a new company (one that had no property or payroll in Virginia) that locates in designated localities and (i) invests at least $5 million in new capital investment and creates at least 10 jobs or (ii) creates at least 50 jobs in a qualified locality, that company would be issued grants or loans from the Commonwealth Opportunity Fund and the Tobacco Commission to pay their estimated tax liability for nine years. 

I feel that this will be a powerful incentive in luring new company locations and will give our area a competitive edge over locations who do not have this advantage.

Protecting your Second Amendment rights

I continue to be a strong advocate for Second Amendment rights. Del. Kathleen Murphy (D) has proposed a change to House rules which would prohibit guns in the House Gallery. I strongly oppose this proposed rule. Under the current rules, only citizens who have a concealed carry permit are allowed to carry a weapon in the House Gallery. Concealed carry permit holders are responsible gun owners and account for less than one percent of all crimes committed with a gun.  I plan to vote against anything that would restrict your rights.

House and Senate leaders announce formation of joint subcommittee to review problems from 2017 elections

We are all aware of some issues that arose in last fall’s general election. Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment announced the formation of a joint subcommittee on election review. The subcommittee will consider issues related to the conduct of elections that were brought to light following the November 2017 elections, including absentee balloting, the assignment of voters in split precincts and recount law and procedures. One of the most sacred rights offered to the people of Virginia is the right to vote in a fair and free election. I thank Speaker Cox and Senate Majority Leader Norment for their leadership on this issue, and I will keep you updated with the findings of the joint subcommittee.

I pledge to stand against proposed tax hikes.

Some Democratic legislators have introduced bills that amount to tax increases. These bills would implement a tax on video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, reinstate the so-called “death tax” and implement a statewide hotel tax. I don’t believe anyone really needs any more taxes on hotels, Netflix and the assets of family members after they die, and I do not plan to support these bills.

Sportsman’s Caucus

The Sportsman’s Caucus met recently to discuss the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ white-tail deer management plan. The story of deer management in Virginia is a great success story. Deer restoration was started in 1926, and the total population has increased from around 50,000 in the entire state of Virginia in 1938 to more than one million deer now.

Rural Caucus

This week’s Rural Caucus featured the new Secretary of Education Atif Quari. A group of school superintendents from across rural Virginia made a presentation to the group highlighting the constant challenges faced in rural areas. I look forward to working with the new administration on those challenges.

Additional funds have been requested by several legislators for rural, at-risk students, and this concept has picked up bi-partisan support. I am hopeful that some version of the funding plan will get support.

I encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office. I value the feedback you provide on a continual basis, as it helps me do a better job of representing you. You can call me at (804)698-1060.

Del. James Edmunds represents the 60th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. He can be reached at