The Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee significantly altered legislation to create a state acquisition and development fund for economic development for sites of at least 250 acres. HB 1842 (Knight), which creates the Virginia Business Ready Sites Acquisition Fund and Program, was changed into a study directing the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) to convene a work group to assess and develop recommendations for such a program.
The patron acknowledged concerns raised about potential conflicts with local economic development initiatives. However, he stated that it is his intention for the state to be a “purchaser of last resort” and for localities to be consulted and given a right of first refusal prior to state acquisition.
If the amended bill passes the full Senate, it is expected that the House will reject the amendments thereby leaving it to a committee of conference to reconcile the differences. It is important to note that the language of the bill that passed the House is also included in the House approved version of the budget.
VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP