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Commonwealth's Counties

School Construction Financing Bills Pass Senate

On January 23, the full Senate passed SB 1408 (McClellan & McPike) on a bipartisan vote of 26-10. 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. This bill is a recommendation of the Commission on School Construction and Modernization and an identical bill passed the Senate last year with bipartisan support. SB 1287 (Deeds), which expands this authority to Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville, was also passed by the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 27-10.

VACo supports both bills and has testified in committee to that effect.

VACo supports the House companion of SB 1408, HB 2316 (Bourne), as well as a standalone bill expanding this authority for Prince Edward County, HB 1605 (Edmunds). Both bills have been referred to the House Finance Committee’s Subcommittee #3.

VACo urges its members to contact legislators serving on this committee to support these bills once they are heard in subcommittee.

Despite historic investments last session, the issue of school construction and modernization remains an approximately $25 billion issue that many localities struggle to address.

These bills would provide one more tool in the toolbox to local governments. VACo encourages its members to support these bills as they make their way through the General Assembly.

VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett

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