After months of steering committee meetings, lively debate and participation through the association’s legislative process, VACo adopted its 2017 Legislative Program. The Legislative Program is organized according to VACo’s Steering Committees.
VACo membership identified “Increased Education Funding” as the overarching legislative priority for the 2017 General Assembly Session.
VACo’s overarching legislative priority is:
To assure each child in Virginia a quality education necessary for his or her success, VACo calls upon the Governor and General Assembly to fully fund the Standards of Quality as recommended by the Board of Education and the Standards of Accreditation.
The provision of a quality education for all Virginia’s children is the most important function of state and local government. The infusion of K-12 funding provided in the 2016 General Assembly session was a step in the right direction toward restoring the state’s partnership with localities in fulfilling this critical mission. However, when adjusted for inflation, state per pupil spending on public education is less than funding levels in FY 2006. With increased educational mandates, increased numbers of students, and state policy changes that decreased education funding, local school divisions have had to eliminate important academic programs, cut instructional and support staff, and increase class sizes, despite strong local efforts to improve efficiencies in public education.
VACo looks forward to working with the Governor and General Assembly to address these serious challenges facing public education in our Commonwealth.
VACo’s 2017 Legislative Program also addresses other priorities. In the realm of Economic Development and Planning, VACo’s members voiced support for three priorities, including changes to the conditional zoning law on proffers to allow greater flexibility for determining impacts and opposing limits to local regulations of home-based businesses, including short-term rentals.
The top priority in Environment and Agriculture is Water Quality Improvement Funding, while the priorities in Finance are support for the authority of county governments to levy and collect local business taxes, and support for granting counties the authority to adopt a local meals and cigarette tax without referendum.
Broadband, Health and Human Resources Funding, K-12 Workforce Development Cooperation, Devolution of Secondary Roads, Local-State Transportation Funding and Cooperation and Transportation Revenue Sharing are other priority issues.
VACo Contact: Dean Lynch, CAE