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Legislative Update from the General Assembly

On January 9th, 2013, the 46-day-long General Assembly session opened and, as in previous years, the VRF lobby team hit the ground running. As you will read, the VRF Lobby Team is following over 100 pieces of legislation that will impact your business. This list will grow during the next week as more legislation is filed in the system. To help in our efforts this year, I have been asked to join the Lobby Team. I am the Director of Government Affairs for the Retail Alliance of Hampton Roads and will be the doing the day to day lobbying with George Peyton during the 2013 session. I recently graduated from The University of Mississippi School of Law and was admitted to the Virginia Bar in October, 2012. In total, this year the VRF will have five registered lobbyists assisting in its lobbying efforts during the session. 

Accelerated Sales Tax Payment
During the 2012 session the accelerated sales tax payment was eliminated for all but approximately 5% of the retailers in Virginia. In the Governor's budget for 2013 and 2014 he has added more funding in the 2014 budget to require only those retailers doing $48,500,000 or more, make the accelerated sales tax payment.

Dealer Discount
During the 2010 session of the General Assembly the Dealer Discount was eliminated for all retailers other than those with retail sales of $1 million or less. The Dealer Discount is the amount retailers retain in order to compensate them for collecting and remitting the sales tax for the Commonwealth.

Plastic Bag Ban
This is a perennial issue that we face. Several bills have already been introduced that either propose a fee on plastic bags or an outright ban on plastic bags. We oppose any such legislation, and maintain that recycling programs for plastic bags are more effective than a ban/fee.

Maintaining the Felony Threshold Level
As of now, we have not seen a bill introduced on this issue. However, every year there is at least one bill on the issue of raising the felony threshold level above $200. We will continue to monitor the issue and oppose any bill that proposes to raise the felony threshold.

Click here for the full view of legislation the VRF is following.

Retail Alliance