Roanoke Regional Chamber
LEGISLATIVE NEWSLETTER
                                                                                              September 2, 2016

ICYMI: What We've Been Up To

TRANSPORTATION 
The second round of SMART SCALE (formerly HB2) project applications are underway. Localities, planning districts and other stakeholders in our region have until September 30th to submit transportation projects for scoring. After projects are ranked and scored, they will be sent to the Commonwealth Transportation Board for funding consideration. Potential projects include improvements to I-81, Colonial and Orange Avenues, VA 419 and U.S. 220 and extensions to the Greenway.  The Roanoke Regional Chamber will continue to support the alignment of transportation funding to meet the economic development needs in our region. 

News you could use in Transportation:  
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT  
The Governor, Speaker Bill Howell and the Senate Committee on Rules finalized and announced the members of the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board. You can find the members by clicking here. The board will oversee the GO Virginia Initiative and regional councils in an effort to grow and diversify Virginia's economy through collaboration. One of the first action-items for the board will be to identify and approve the make-up of the GO Virginia Regional Map. 
The Chamber supports the GO Virginia Initiative as a results-oriented economic development program that encourages cooperation -- vital to the economic future of the Commonwealth.

News you could use in Economic Development:
FEDERAL ISSUES

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte released a draft Online Sales Tax Simplification Act of 2016 --  a big step in achieving a level playing field for sales tax collection across state lines. The discussion draft would allow states to require online sellers to collect sales tax. Sales would be taxed on tax base of retailer and tax rate set by the consumer's state. 
For example, if a company in Virginia sold and shipped a product to a consumer in South Carolina -- Virginia's rule for taxing the type of product and South Carolina's decided tax rate would be used. 
It is important to note that this is not a new tax and online sellers are already required to collect taxes in their own states but do not always have to collect from out-of-state customers. 
The Roanoke Regional Chamber has been an advocate for Internet Sales Tax Fairness. We applaud Chairman Goodlatte for reigniting the conversation and will be following this legislation closely as it goes through markup in the coming months. 

News you could use in Federal Issues:
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION
The Chamber recently started a new workforce committee -- The Council on Workforce Innovation and Connection. The mission of the council is to help navigate workforce related legislation and connect members with resources that will help them attract and retain the talent they need. If you are interested in this council please email jbaumgartner@roanokechamber.org 
The Roanoke Regional Chamber feels strongly that an educated, trained and qualified workforce contributes in great measure to the economic strength of our region. 

News you could use in Workforce Development and Education: 
STAY CONNECTED:

Josh Baumgartner
VP Public Policy Roanoke Regional Chamber 
jbaumgartner@roanokechamber.org
540.983.0700