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The Voice of the

Commonwealth's Counties

Bills enhancing county taxing authority introduced

Several bills have been introduced to provide counties with additional taxing authority.  SB 200 (Favola) would equalize county taxing authority with that currently afforded to cities and towns.  The bill would take effect July 1, 2019, and in the intervening time a workgroup would determine any additional statutory changes that might be required to implement this broad grant of authority.  The bill has been referred to the Senate Local Government Committee.

SB 527 (Mason), which is identical to SB 115 (Locke) (reported on in last week’s Capitol Contact), allows counties to impose a food and beverage tax without seeking approval in a referendum.  The bills also increase the current 4 percent cap on the rate at which the food and beverage tax could be imposed to 8 percent.  The bills have been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

HB 1338 (Campbell) and SB 510 (Carrico) permit all counties to impose a cigarette tax at the rate of 5 cents per pack or the amount levied under state law, whichever is greater, after receiving approval in a voter referendum.  A county would not be permitted to hold a referendum on this topic within 23 months of previous consideration of the same issue.  SB 510 has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee; HB 1338 has not yet been referred to a committee.

HB 302 (Watts) allows counties with populations greater than 100,000 the taxing and borrowing powers granted to cities and towns, and provides that such counties would be eligible for state payments for maintenance of highways, provided that principal and minor arterial roads are maintained to state standards.  The bill has been referred to the House Counties, Cities and Towns Committee.

VACo Contact: Katie Boyle

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