96th District, Virginia House of Delegates                                     February 23 , 2018

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Contact Delegate Pogge

Richmond Office 
Pocahontas Building
Room E403
900 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: 804-698-1096
Fax: 804-786-6310
Legislative Aide
Amanda Batten
Only two weeks remain until the General Assembly adjourns "Sine Die" on Saturday, March 10. We still have a great deal of work to complete in that short time. Our biggest challenge will be passing a budget; however, we are also continuing to hear bills. I'm often asked how the process works when a House bill crosses into the Senate and is amended (changed) by the Senate. If that occurs, the bill is sent back to the House floor, where legislators must vote to accept or reject the Senate amendments. If the amendments are accepted, the bill is another step closer to becoming law. If the amendments are rejected, a Committee of Conference is appointed to iron out the differences between the original bill and the amended bill. There must be consensus for the bill to move forward. If you'd like more details, click here for a full overview of "How a Bill Becomes a Law in Virginia." 
The budget
Passing a balanced budget is the most important job of the Virginia legislature. On Thursday, the House and Senate passed their respective versions of the budget. Because there are substantial difference between the two budget bills, a Committee of Conference will be designated to develop consensus language.

As with every budget, there are many provisions that I support, while others give me cause for concern. This year is no different. I applaud the House Appropriations Committee for prioritizing teacher pay raises and investments in the reserve fund. While I support these priorities, I have concerns about provisions to expand Medicaid in Virginia. These objections caused me to vote against the House budget.

I understand the allure of "free" federal funds, but the instability within the federal government gives me pause. As evidenced by the recent elimination of the individual insurance mandate, the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare is being incrementally dismantled. Even popular programs like the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) faced a crisis due to a recent lapse in federal funding. 

I respect the differences of opinion on this issue, but I remain concerned about the costs--both fiscal and human--of expansion. Virginia's current Medicaid program is growing by $600 million in the current biennial budget. Expansion will cause these costs to further balloon. The Mercatus Center at George Washington University offers the following analysis

"CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] now expects that through 2022, Medicaid expansion costs will be $7,436 per person, more than 50% higher than the $4,875 projected in the  2013 report.  Thus, rather than just being an initial burst due to pent-up demand, this excess cost is now seen as a permanent feature of the ACA's Medicaid expansion." 

Quality of care is also a valid issue. A recent Free-Lance Star article reports: "A study in Oregon, which did expand Medicaid, found that compared to the state's uninsured population, 'Medicaid coverage generated no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes in the first two years, but it did increase use of health care services...' Another study in 2010 by the University of Virginia found that surgical patients on Medicaid suffered more complications and were 13 percent more likely to die than uninsured patients."

I am committed to working with my colleagues to ensure health care access for Virginia's neediest citizens, but the aforementioned issues must be addressed. The budget process is still underway, though, and I look forward to continuing the dialogue. Stay tuned!
Senate Bill 942: the Historic Triangle sales tax
I've received a number of inquiries about Senate Bill 942, which implements a "Historic Triangle sales tax." The bill was highlighted in the recent Virginia Gazette article, "Senate bill raising local sales tax moves to House." Following is an overview of the legislation.
  • SB 942 creates a one percent state sales and use tax in the Historic Triangle. This tax applies to meals, retail, and use.
  • Fifty percent of revenues will be distributed to the localities in which the revenues were collected. The affected localities are the City of Williamsburg, James City County, and York County.
  • Fifty percent of the revenues will be used to market, promote, and advertise the Historic Triangle as a tourism destination
  • The tourism revenues will be deposited into a fund to be administered by the Tourism Council of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance.
  • The bill is contingent on the City of Williamsburg repealing recent ordinances raising the local transient occupancy, food and beverage, and admission taxes and will expire if any of the localities in the Historic Triangle raise or reinstate these taxes in the next seven years.
Senate Bill 942 is assigned to the House Finance Committee, where it is scheduled to be heard during Monday morning's meeting. As a member of this committee, I intend to vote against SB 942. Full details of the bill are available online HERE.
2018 legislative survey
Please do not forget to check the results of my 2018 legislative survey, which are posted on my website. I take constituent input seriously, and I thank all 96th District residents who took the time to complete the survey.
Visitors welcome in Richmond!
Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you plan to be in Richmond during the next two weeks. As session draws to a close, my committee meeting schedule is less busy. I have a number of openings on my calendar, and I'd love the chance to meet with you.


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