Bill freezing BPOL rates fails in House Finance Subcommittee

January 21, 2020

Members of House Finance Committee’s Subcommittee #2 expressed sympathy with the intent of HB 948 (Webert), which would have prohibited localities imposing license taxes (BPOL) from increasing their rates beyond the rate imposed as of January 1, 2020, and barred any locality not currently imposing BPOL taxes from doing so in the future.  However, subcommittee members expressed reservations about restricting BPOL as a local revenue source without providing localities with an alternative, and ultimately tabled the measure. VACo spoke in opposition to the bill.

The subcommittee also took up HB 309 (Bloxom), which would allow localities to impose transient occupancy taxes on accommodations within state parks to the same extent that those taxes could be levied on room rentals and travel campgrounds that are privately owned.  The subcommittee recommended reporting this bill.  It also recommended reporting HB 62 (Hope), which would remove the sunset clause from the statute permitting Arlington County to impose an additional 0.25 percent transient occupancy tax, which is dedicated to tourism promotion.  Other grants of special authority to impose transient occupancy taxes are not restricted by sunset clauses.  The subcommittee also looked favorably on HB 1270 (Batten), which would repeal the additional sales and use tax imposed in the Historic Triangle in 2026 unless the tax is approved via referendum in York County, James City County, and the City of Williamsburg.

Subcommittee members were supportive of HB 342 (Bell), which intends to provide an exemption from meals taxes for small sellers at roadside stands and farmers’ markets, but suggested some revisions to the bill’s language to narrow its application.  The bill will be placed on a future subcommittee docket.

VACo Contact:  Katie Boyle

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