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Commonwealth's Counties

School construction financing bills to be heard in Senate Finance and Appropriations tomorrow

On Wednesday, January 17, the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee intends to meet at 9 a.m. and take up two bills supported by VACo pertaining to school construction financing. SB 1408 (McClellan & McPike) 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) would expand this authority to Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville.

VACo supports both bills and intends to testify to that effect tomorrow.

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), are supported by VACo and have been referred to the House Finance Committee.

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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