96th District, Virginia House of Delegates                                        February 16 , 2018

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Contact Delegate Pogge

Richmond Office 
New address!
Pocahontas Building
Room E403
900 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: 804-698-1096
Fax: 804-786-6310
Legislative Aide
Amanda Batten
Earlier this week marked Crossover, the date by which the House and Senate must complete work on all bills originating in their respective chambers. The exception are the House and Senate budgets, which will be released this Sunday. Following is a Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) graphic illustrating the status of legislation introduced this year. 
Defeated: $770 million in tax increases (and counting)
Remember the Democratic tax proposals I mentioned in previous newsletters? Turns out the price tag is pretty staggering. Had the tax increases been implemented, they would have totaled $770 million! I'm committed to standing against tax hikes, and I believe there are plenty of cuts that can also be made.
Small trailer = big tax
Throughout the year, I encourage constituents to contact me with questions about the Virginia Code and to offer ideas about improving our Commonwealth's laws. Sometimes those suggestions are broad changes. Other times, they are small improvements that can help hard-working Virginians. 

In 2017, a constituent noted that Virginia imposes a minimum trailer sales tax of $75 (as opposed to the standard 4.15% sales tax paid on vehicles and trailers). This means that if you purchase a $500 small trailer--say for your landscaping business--you pay a tax rate of 15%. This is absurd. Virginians living within a budget and making frugal purchases should not be penalized with a disproportionate minimum tax. I carried legislation to repeal this minimum and impose the standard 4.15% tax. The bill was amended in committee to reduce the minimum to $35. The bill passed the House and will next be heard in the Senate Finance Committee.
Elections have consequences
The primary task remaining this General Assembly session is completion of the Virginia budget. Unlike the federal government, Virginia must pass a balanced budget. Throughout the years, I've made clear my support for a fiscally conservative budget that funds core government services while reducing borrowing. My goal is no different this year. 

A great deal has changed between this year and last, though. November's elections ushered in 15 new Democratic House members, reducing the Republican majority to a slim 51-49 advantage. Medicaid expansion remains a top priority for Democrats, and some Republicans have begun offering suggestions on a compromise. Earlier this week, Delegate Kilgore penned an editorial, "The next step for rebuilding Southwest Virginia's economy," outlining options for a provisional expansion of Medicaid. Meanwhile, the New York Times debunked a common argument for expansion: "Preventive Care Saves Money? Sorry, It's Too Good to Be True." The bottom line is summed up by the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star editorial: "Who will pay for Medicaid expansion?"

Because I am not a member of the Appropriations Committee, which is tasked with drafting the budget, I do not have any direct input on the budget that will be presented this Sunday. You can be sure I'm paying close attention, though--and I hope you are, too.
2018 legislative survey
As promised, the results of my 2018 survey have been tabulated and posted on my website. Following are some of the highlights:
  • Fostering jobs and economic development was identified as the most important core government service. Supporting K-12 schools and higher education was a very close second.
  • Cutting government spending was the preferred means for addressing budgetary constraints.
  • Over 55% of respondents believe Virginia spends the right amount on K-12 education.
  • Requiring healthcare providers to show clear cost information before providing the service was supported by nearly 90% of respondents.
  • Medicaid expansion was opposed by 55% of respondents.

Thank you again to all who took the time to complete the survey. Full results are available HERE. 

Still time to visit!
A few weeks remain in this year's legislative session, and I hope you will take the time to visit. Thank you to all who traveled to Richmond this week on behalf of the following organizations:
  • Girl Scouts 
  • Lackey Free Clinic
  • Virginia Catholic Conference
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me for assistance with any state-related matter or agency. I may be reached via email at DelBPogge@house.virginia.gov or by phone at 804-698-1096. 

Enjoy your weekend!
Delegate Brenda Pogge

Paid for and Authorized by Brenda Pogge for Delegate