The Virginia Grocery Investment Fund (VGIF) needs your help. SB 37 (Stanley) unanimously reported out of the Senate Finance Committee and passed on the Senate floor by a 36-4 vote. However, the House of Delegates has not yet taken action or placed on an agenda HB 85 (Bell/McQuinn), the House counterpart to SB 37. With crossover fast approaching (February 13), the House needs to consider this important legislation and support funding the VGIF through the 2019-2020 budget.
Required Action – Contact your Delegates to support HB 85 and including funding in the Budget for the Virginia Grocery Investment Fund.
- The Fund would create a public-private partnership leveraging state dollars with private money and would be used for one time low-interest loans and grants. These incentives would allow independent grocery operators to overcome the initial barriers to opening or renovating stores in underserved communities.
- The proposed 2019-2020 budget contains $7.5 million for the Fund. This $7.5 million investment will generate up to $30 million in private investment and will ultimately affect 1.7 million Virginians (including 480,000 children) who currently live in lower income communities with limited supermarket access.
- Independent grocery stores contribute $107.56 million in state and local tax revenues. Grocery stores are viewed as essential to prospective employers striving to attract and retain a talented workforce.
- The average grocery store hires 40 people from the neighborhood where it operates. Grocery stores bring private sector, entry level jobs with room for growth to communities often with the highest rates of unemployment.
House Appropriations Committee’s Commerce, Agriculture, Natural Resources & Technology Subcommittee: Ingram (Chairman), Landes, Poindexter, Knight, Robinson, Sickles, James, Bell, John J., Jones, S.C.
VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.