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The Voice of the

Commonwealth's Counties

Limited additional taxing authority to Halifax County for school construction bill continues to advance

HB 1634 (Edmunds) originally authorized all counties and cities to impose an additional local sales and use tax at a rate as determined by the governing body, if initiated by a resolution of the local governing body and approved by the voters at a referendum. Revenue from the tax would be used solely for capital projects for the construction or improvement of schools.

While VACo was supportive of the original bill, it has since been amended on several occasions to only apply to Halifax County and for any additional sales tax to not exceed 1 percent. On February 19, the bill passed the Senate as amended on a 29-11 vote. The bill had previously passed the House of Delegates on a vote of 74-23, which is where it will now return for the latest round of Senate amendments to be considered.

VACo has written at length that many localities face significant challenges in raising enough funds to undertake capital school construction or renovation projects. According to a 2013 report, more than 40 percent of Virginia’s public school buildings and facilities were built at least 50 years ago and another 20 percent were constructed at least 40 years ago. The condition of the facilities in which children are educated has a direct impact on their ability to learn. VACo supports additional state resources and additional funding options for localities for capital and school construction projects.

VACo Contact: Jeremy Bennett

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