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Commonwealth's Counties

School Construction Financing Bills Advance in House

On February 5, Subcommittee #3 of the House Finance Committee recommended to report with a substitute HB 805 (Rasoul) on a vote of 5-3. As previously reported, this bill would permit any county or city to impose an additional local sales and use tax of up to 1 percent, if initiated by a resolution of the local governing body and approved by voters at a local referendum. The revenues of such a local tax would be used solely for capital projects for the construction or renovation of schools. Any tax imposed shall expire when the costs for capital projects are to be repaid and shall not be more than 20 years after the date of the resolution passed. Currently, this authority is limited to the qualifying localities of Charlotte, Gloucester, Halifax, Henry, Mecklenburg, Northampton, Patrick, and Pittsylvania Counties and the City of Danville.

The bill now incorporates various “standalone” bills before the committee, including HB 60 (Wright) for Prince Edward County and HB 193 (Cole) for Stafford County. The substitute now also allows localities that choose to exercise this authority, if approved by voter referendum, to use the revenues from such authority for school capital debt payments.

VACo and numerous other local government and K-12 advocates testified in favor of the bill. VACo thanks its members and those who advocated for the bill. A recap of the subcommittee hearing from Cardinal News can be read here.

The bill now heads to the full House Finance Committee, where it could be heard as early as the afternoon of Wednesday, February 7.

The Senate version of the bill, SB 14 (McPike), passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote of 27-13 and now awaits assignment to committee in the House. Both versions of the bill will need to be conformed before passage.

VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett

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