August 3, 2022

The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis (TCI) was kind enough to include me in a celebration of the successful passage of a refundable Earned Income Tax Credit bill this year. Such a bill is key to erasing poverty.

  • Commentary: Tax Policy To Help Those Most in Need
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Tax Policy To Help Those Most in Need

One of the positive outcomes of the budget proposed by former Governor Ralph Northam as he left office was the adoption in Virginia of a refundable earned income tax credit (EITC). His proposal was included in the Conference Report between the House and Senate and was agreed to by both houses and signed by the Governor. Persons of low or moderate income who qualify will be winners in being able to keep more of their earnings to meet their personal and household expenses.


Virginia has had an EITC patterned after the federal system for many years thanks to the efforts of the late Senator Toddy Puller. The Virginia EITC was not refundable as it is in the federal system and in many other states. A refundable Virginia EITC has been advocated for by many groups who work with persons of low or moderate income including Social Action Linking Together (SALT) and its leader John Horejsi, the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis (TCI) that did the important work of researching the issue, and others. I introduced legislation several times over a decade during Democratic and Republican administrations, but it failed to gain executive support and competed with other budget priorities. Governor Northam seized on the opportunity to make the EITC refundable during a time when the state was flush for cash that could fund it.


 According to research done by TCI, about 600,000 working families in Virginia receive the federal EITC, and under the new law they will also be able to receive a state EITC that matches up to 20% of their federal credit. Because Virginia’s state EITC has not been refundable in the past, most families who qualify for the credit do not receive the full amount of the state EITC. A refundable state EITC will provide them a larger tax refund and help to offset sales, excise, and property taxes paid which contribute to Virginia’s tax code being upside down. One advocacy group calculated that for every $10,000 in income, lower-income Virginians pay $980 in state and local taxes while the wealthiest 1% pay only $700. Lower-income Virginians do not qualify for the many credits and advantages that those who make more money can use to lower their tax burden. This EITC change can help bring some fairness to tax policy while helping those of lower income keep more of their earnings to buy their groceries, pay their rent, and fill their prescriptions.


The tax policy that the new policy replaces limited the effectiveness of the state EITC, with particularly negative consequences for racial equity. The state’s Commission to Examine Racial and Economic Inequity in Virginia Law had recommended that the state enact a partially refundable EITC, noting that the policy “would help to increase incomes for working families in Virginia, particularly for Black and Latinx families who, and despite working, are more likely to be excluded from the current nonrefundable credit due to having low incomes.”

I am pleased to have been part of this important change in tax policy, but I fear that under the new administration it might be vulnerable. We have made progress, but we will need to work together to keep it!


Virginia Sales Tax Holiday Runs August 5 - 7, 2022

Stock up on qualifying school supplies, clothing, hurricane and emergency preparedness supplies, and certain ENERGY STAR™ and WaterSense™ products without paying state sales tax starting Friday, Aug. 5 at 12:01 a.m. and ending Sunday, August 7, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. Enjoy the savings whether you shop online, in-store, or by mail or phone. Learn more.

Fairfax County Seeks Input on

Richmond Highway BRT Station Elements

Tell us what’s important to include in the design. Online survey closes

August 14, 2022. Detailed information is at Richmond Highway Input

Vienna and Reston Fall Program Registration Now Open

Reston and Vienna proudly offer seasonal community programs to suit current interests, help spark new hobbies, and support health, relaxation, physical fitness, enjoyment, learning, mindfulness and more. Learn more about Vienna's programs and Reston's programs.


Consider Volunteering with Fairfax County's Office of Emergency Management's (OEM) Volunteer Corps

Volunteers in Fairfax County contribute thousands of hours of services annually. It’s far more than doing a good deed, it's a way to develop skills, learn more about career options, make professional contacts, socialize and, importantly, have an impact on your community. The Office of Emergency Management promotes emergency preparedness and education with the help of volunteers. Learn more


Save the Date for the Annual Plum Family Picnic: Saturday, September 17, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., at North Hills Picnic Pavilion, North Village Road, Reston.

Friday, August 5, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Totally Trucks at Reston Association’s Central Services Facility, 12250 Sunset Hills Road. Come check out all the big trucks that RA uses to make Reston beautiful. Children will receive a “Totally Trucks” construction helmet. Register here or contact

Sunday, August 7, 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., Black Lives Next Door, at George Mason Regional Library. "Black Lives Next Door: George Mason and Northern Virginia in an Age of Disparity and Opportunity" is an ongoing research project at the Center for Mason Legacies at George Mason University. Dr. George D. Oberle and Dr. LaNitra Berger will discuss what they've learned about the legacy of slavery in Northern Virginia and the impact that the 1959 founding of George Mason College had on its neighbors. Register here. Age 16 and up.

Wednesday, August 10, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Dulles Airport Job & Career Fair,  at the Fairfax Christian School, 22870 Pacific Boulevard, Dulles, VA. Visit the website for this event ( to see the most up-to-date information regarding the companies that are participating. 


Thursday, August 11, 8:30 p.m., Big Screen on the Green showing "Soul" at Vienna Town Green. Enjoy this Disney and Pixar movie under the stars. Complimentary water and popcorn will be available while supplies last. Film description is at Big Screen on the Green.

Saturday, August 13, Noon, The Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta. Teams will race life-sized cardboard boats on Lake Anne in timed heats. Register or sign up to volunteer.

Sunday, August 14, 2:00 p.m., Gun Violence Awareness Vigil at National Rifle Association headquarters, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax. The vigil commemorates the anniversary of the day 26 children and educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Please DO NOT park in the NRA's parking lot. There is plenty of free parking in the office building lot on Fairfax Ridge Drive across Waples Mill Road. Signs and flags will be provided. Some protesters will drive past the NRA with signs taped to their car windows or doors; others will stand on the sidewalk.     


Monday, August 15, 5:15 to 11:00 p.m. Nationals vs. Cubs. Join Reston Association for a bus trip to the ballpark. Seats are in Club Level, section 220. Purchase tickets or contact

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