Bill is important for Virginia business

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By Delegate Kathy Byron

This week, Richmond got colder, the General Assembly Building got crowded, and Brunswick Stew had its own official day. It’s just another event-filled week at the 2008 General Assembly session, with an awful lot going on all at once.

Two national holidays and one state holiday fall during each General Assembly session. The first is a Virginia-only holiday, Lee-Jackson Day, which falls on the Friday immediately preceding the third Monday in January. Since that is only a state holiday, a lot of people don’t get to take it off. The second holiday is national, celebrating the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. It falls on the third Monday in January. Because quite a few people get that day off, the General Assembly Building is packed on the King Holiday.

Lines to buy sandwiches at the cafeteria get long, waiting time for elevators becomes very lengthy, and committee rooms where legislation is being considered are standing room only on the King Holiday. This year, the large theater-style meeting room where the Senate Courts of Justice Committee was hearing legislation which would have regulated private gun sales at gun shows became so stuffed, no additional visitors were allowed in because the number there had already exceeded the fire code capacity.

I would like to use this week’s column to talk about a bill that I believe is extremely important for Virginia’s future as a national leader in job creation and business growth. This year, I filed HB 1514, which would change the way Virginia taxes the income of multi-state corporations that invest in our Commonwealth. Unfortunately, our current system of corporate taxation penalizes companies that make large capital investments and grow their workforce in Virginia. This is because these companies are taxed – in part – on the amount of property and payroll they have in Virginia. In recent years, a growing number of states – including North Carolina and Maryland – have adopted a corporate income tax based solely on a company’s sales. Because the manufacturing sector in Virginia has been hit hard in recent years with job layoffs and plant closings, which we can attest to in the Southside, this bill would allow companies to choose between this “single factor” tax and the current tax which is based on sales, payroll and property.

When enacted and fully implemented, this added flexibility will be an important economic development tool to encourage manufacturing companies to make the decision to expand their business in Virginia creating jobs and future opportunities for families. During this time of economic uncertainty, we need to remain competitive with other states’ tax structures to prevent future job losses and encourage growth in Virginia.

Virginia has been named America’s #1 state for business, a distinction for which we are all very proud. But, being the best means you have to constantly find ways to improve and stay ahead of the competition. That’s a key reason why I introduced House Bill 1514.

In all, I have filed 15 bills this session. All of them are making their way, in some cases slowly, through the committee system. At least some of them should come before the entire House for consideration this week.

Despite the sometimes frigid temperatures, we continue to see friendly faces from home. This week, we’ve had groups from the Bedford County Chamber of Commerce and the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce.

If you’ll be visiting Richmond during this year’s session, make sure to stop by our office, located in Room 811 of the General Assembly Building. You can contact us here by sending an e-mail to DelKByron@house.state.va.us or by sending a letter to me at PO Box 406, Richmond, VA 23218-0406. Or, if you just want me to know your opinion on a particular issue, you can call on the toll-free Constituent Viewpoint Hotline at 1.800.889.0229.

Have a great week, and look for more news from Richmond in this same place next week.