Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Day One of the 2019 Session

The gavel went down at noon today on the 2019 session. Have you talked with your legislator yet? If you haven't, reach out now and tell them your story. Build a relationship and make sure you are a "go to" person for them on education issues. If you don't know who your legislator is, you can click here to find out.

This is going to be a budget session even though, on paper, it isn't. This session will be all about tax policy and how the state handles the changes in tax code at the Federal level that will impact the state. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made significant changes to the Federal tax code. Virginia will conform to the Federal changes as they always do. The issue will then become how Virginia handles the standard deduction changes and the ability to itemize. There is potential for substantial new revenues that can be invested in public programs like public education. In fact, Governor Northam's budget amendment proposals assumes passage of tax policies that will bring in these revenues. Without them, cuts will need to be made to his proposals. So the General Assembly is facing very difficult choices. Obviously the VEA supports the Governor's budget amendments and investments in our schools and school employees. It will be the big issue of session.

As usual, today's floor action was focused on organizing the session and establishing rules. Committees will start meeting this afternoon, so there will be more to do tomorrow. Today your Lobby Cadre spent their time visiting every legislator's office and sharing the VEA legislative agenda. If you haven't seen the 2019 VEA Legislative Agenda you can click here to read it.

Tomorrow I will give updates on the VEA bills. There is a lot of good work going on with those.

I wanted to end with a shout out to Mrs. Carol Bauer's 4th grade class. Carol is a tremendous VEA advocate, our senior NEA Board member, and award winning teacher. She let me know that the link I shared on Monday to the web site American Evolution that celebrates the 400th Anniversary of Virginia's General Assembly was helpful to her students and they enjoyed the content. So glad I shared it here. See, this blog is more than just an update, it's a teaching tool :) Click here to check out the web site.