It is the beginning of a new year and that means that the General Assembly Session is here. We gaveled into the 2019 Session in Richmond on Wednesday of this week. I am excited for the year we have ahead of us.
This session is a non-budget year which means it is a short session of only 46 days. But I expect we will be just as productive as we are in budget years.
This year is also an election year. From 2017 to last year, the Republican's margin in the House of Delegates went from 16 seats to one seat. With all 100 delegate seats and 40 State Senate seats up for reelection, we must make sure we are defending our conservative values against the liberal agenda that is being pushed by outside groups like Bloomberg and his allies, NARAL and George Soros, as well as by our liberal governor.
On Wednesday night, Governor Northam delivered a hyper-partisan State of the Commonwealth Address filled with standard liberal checklist items: climate change, gun control, abortion on demand, increased government spending, marijuana legalization and the repeal of voter ID.
It was honestly what I would have expected from liberal governors in New York or California.
I'll continue to fight for our Republican principles: lower taxes, protecting our Second Amendment rights, reducing government spending and protecting the unborn. That's how I'll vote in the General Assembly and that's how I'll run as your candidate for reelection this year.
At this time, I have introduced 14 bills and resolutions. I may file a few more bills, as well as several budget amendments (some with $0 cost amount). I want to hear your opinions on them. You can find a list of the legislation I have filed here.
I am in the middle of two major challenges, one at each end of the 33rd District: the Dulles Greenway in the east and Interstate 81 in the west. I’ll wait until later to go into more detail on what’s shaping up with the effort to bring an end to the 2008 Mark Herring Greenway Sweetheart Deal that has been allowing excessive tolls on that road for the last 10 years. Another very high priority is to restore money to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to replace the funds that were diverted to Metro last year; more on that to come.
The safety and reliability of I-81 is a high priority and cannot wait until Sen. Tim Kaine or Rep. Jennifer Wexton send relief. Last year, we passed a bill that directed the Commonwealth Transportation Board to come up with a plan of improvement projects and options for a dedicated funding source to improve I-81.
I'll clarify up front. There is no silver bullet for solving this funding problem. But doing nothing isn't an option. Too many accidents happen and as a result we continue to spend too much time sitting in traffic. It's unreliable. It's unsafe. It's time to fix it. We need a long term solution that does not burden local commuters and one that ensures that out-of-state vehicles pay their fair share.
After a year of study and unprecedented level of public input, I will be working on a bill with my fellow legislators along I-81 that will allow free limited use for local commuters, a low price unlimited annual pass for all but heavy trucks and tolls on heavy trucks.
Let me be perfectly clear, local commuters will not be burdened by these tolls. And commuters from around Virginia who travel along I-81 will have free or affordable options to do so. The proposal will allow drivers of non-commercial vehicles to travel more than 100 round-trip miles a day for free - with no tolls or charges. Anyone driving a non-commercial vehicles who wishes to may pay an annual fee of $30 for unlimited, toll-free use of the interstate. There will be no toll plazas or other structures to slow or disrupt the flow of traffic as all tolls will be collected or billed electronically. The plan also includes video monitoring to prevent trucks from exiting the interstate in order to avoid toll gantries.
We need to raise the funds for safety fixes but I won't be on board with something that burdens residents along the 81 corridor who depend on it or one that doesn't provide affordable commuter options to drive on I-81. This plan meets those criteria while pumping more than $2 billion into construction of long-overdue safety improvements on I-81. I will continue posting more information about this proposal on my website here.
Fighting against Governor Northam’s
$1.2 BILLION middle-class tax hike!
Governor Northam has proposed a policy that will lead to higher taxes being paid by more than 600,000 middle class families. To me that is completely unacceptable. Many middle-class families will no longer be able to deduct mortgage interest, property taxes, or healthcare expenses on their state taxes.
House Republicans are offering plans to stop Governor Ralph Northam’s middle-class tax hike and provide targeted tax relief to middle and low income Virginians,without costing the state a penny.
This plan will fully implement the federal tax cuts at the state level, protecting a middle class family that itemizes from what could be roughly a $805 tax increase or providing an additional $115 in tax relief to a family that chooses the standard deduction. You work hard for your money and as your delegate I am committed to making sure you can keep more of your money.