The Virginia Small Business Partnership Announces Strategic Partnership with Small Business Majority

We are very pleased to announce a strategic partnership with the folks over at Small Business Majority! We look forward to working with them to promote commonsense, business-friendly policies here in the Commonwealth. Read the press release for more details.

Gallup Poll Explores Diversity In Relation To Small Business Owners’ Perceptions & Experiences


Today Gallup released a report summarizing the key findings of a major research project, sponsored by Wells Fargo, analyzing the experiences of small-business owners by race, ethnicity, gender, veteran status and sexual orientation.

Workforce Skills Gap?

Virginia Public Radio reports on VASBP’s policy priorities:

While the upcoming General Assembly session will focus on such issues as the state budget, ethics reform, and whether or not to expand Medicaid, small business advocates have rolled out a blueprint of their own legislative priorities. Their agenda arose from a summit of the state’s entrepreneurs and business leaders, who want to ensure that the Commonwealth maintains its competitive edge through business-friendly policies. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, they say that begins with a qualified workforce.

See the article and the hear the audio of the story here.

Virginia Chamber and VASBP Announce Partnership

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contacts:

Paul A. Miller

Virginia Small Business Partnership

(703) 383-1330

pmiller@mwcapitol.com

Cyndi Miracle

Virginia Chamber

(804)237-1466

c.miracle@vachamber.com

 Click here for a PDF of the press release

Fairfax, VA and Richmond, VA, June 12, 2013 – The Virginia Small Business Partnership (VASBP) and the Virginia Chamber jointly announced today that they have formed a partnership to develop pro-small business policies for Virginia. VASBP will help ensure that the policy priorities of the Commonwealth’s small business leaders are incorporated into the Chamber’s Blueprint Virginia initiative.

“We are excited to work with an organization that will help to bring the voice of small business to our vision for Virginia’s future,” said Barry DuVal, President and CEO of the Virginia Chamber.

Blueprint Virginia is the Chamber’s year-long statewide initiative to develop a dynamic eight-year economic development plan aimed at improving Virginia’s competitive position in the global economy and ensuring a prosperous and sustainable future. VASBP will provide input and guidance on this initiative through its annual Virginia Small Business Summit, held this year on September 20 at the Mason Inn in Fairfax, Virginia. Each year, VASBP produces a set of policy priorities based on the work done at the Summit.

“Summit attendees will have the opportunity to have a direct impact on the Blueprint Virginia project, both through surveys and through the work they do to develop the 2013 Summit’s policy priorities document,” said Paul A. Miller, Chairman of VASBP. “We are thrilled to be working with the Chamber to help shape Virginia’s future.”

About the Virginia Small Business Partnership – The Virginia Small Business Partnership (VASBP) advocates for small business interests through policy-focused research. VASBP serves as a bridge between policymakers and small businesses. For more information on the Virginia Small Business Partnership, please visit www.vasbp.com.

About the Virginia Chamber – The Virginia Chamber of Commerce is the state’s largest business advocacy organization with more than 14,500 members. As the voice for business, the Chamber works in the legislative, regulatory and political arenas to act as a catalyst for enhancing Virginia’s economic competitiveness and pro-business climate.

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Virginia Senate Bill Would Give Tax Credit for Donations to STEM Programs

A bill patroned by Senators Bill Stanley and Frank Ruff and Delegate David Ramadan would give a tax credit for a donation to a STEM program at a qualified school. The Virginia Small Business Partnership has recognized the need for more STEM graduates in its annual summits, and supports any efforts intended to bolster STEM programs in the Commonwealth. You can read a summary of the bill and link to the bill’s full text here.

Governor McDonnell Announces Plan to Eliminate State Gas Tax

From the Governor’s Office:

“RICHMOND – With legislators and transportation leaders by his side, Governor Bob McDonnell announced today a plan that would provide more than $3.1 billion in transportation funding for the Commonwealth over the next 5 years, tying transportation funding to economic growth and replacing the state’s outdated gas tax revenue model with a 0.8 percent increase in the state’s sales tax dedicated to transportation. The proposal would make Virginia the first state in the nation to eliminate the state tax on gasoline, allocates additional general funds to transportation, capitalizes on revenues being lost on out-of-state sales, and creates a long-term revenue system to fund Virginia’s highway, rail and transit needs. Virginia’s current transportation maintenance funding shortfall means that in FY 2013 $364 million must be transferred from the state’s construction account to pay for road maintenance. That transfer amount is anticipated to grow to $500 million by FY 2019 unless new funding is provided. In short, Virginia has to use money meant for construction for paving and potholes. The governor’s plan fixes the problem by generating $844 million in new funding per year for transportation by FY 2018, eliminating the state maintenance crossover and contributing to construction, rail, transit and other priorities. By eliminating crossover and with proposed revenue growth, this plan provides an additional $1.8 billion for highway construction over the next 5 years.”

Read the rest of the press release and get more details on the governor’s proposal here.

Virginia Uranium Mining Wins First Legislative Test « CBS DC

CBS DC reports that the Virginia Commission on Coal and Energy voted 11-2 (with abstentions) in favor of Sen. John Watkins’ proposal to allow the Coles Hill uranium deposit to be mined. Read the full story by following the link…

Virginia Uranium Mining Wins First Legislative Test « CBS DC.

Delegate Hugo to Introduce Major Transportation Funding Legislation

From Delegate Tim Hugo’s office:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 27, 2012
Contact: Dean Goodson
Phone: (703) 815-1201

Fairfax, VA – Delegate Tim Hugo (VA-40) today announced that he will be introducing a transportation funding bill that will address the immediate transportation needs of the Commonwealth of Virginia while remaining revenue neutral.

Delegate Hugo said, “There is no question that funding for Virginia’s transportation needs is sorely lacking. Immediate action is necessary to prevent the Commonwealth from running out of funds in FY2017 for the construction of new transportation infrastructure projects.”

Hugo stated that, “The purchasing power from the state gas sales tax is going to continue to erode due to 1) the increased use of alternative-fuel vehicles, 2) federal CAFE standards reaching 54.5 mpg by 2025 and 3) the conversion of corporate fleets from gasoline/diesel to untaxed natural gas.”
“Indexing and/or increasing the state gas sales tax are short-term fixes in addressing Virginia’s significant transportation needs. We need to think of innovative new means to fund transportation that do not gouge the taxpaying public,” said Hugo.

Upon becoming law, Delegate Hugo’s proposal will provide almost $500 million more to transportation and halt the decline in transportation trust fund revenues. Hugo stated, “This bill will ‘stop the bleeding’ of the Transportation Trust Fund and allocate almost half a billion dollars more for transportation in Virginia; without increasing taxes.”
Delegate Hugo’s bill contains two parts:

1) Eliminates – in its entirety — the current 17.5-cent state motor fuels tax and offset those revenues with a 0.9% increase in the states sales and use tax. This tax reform proposal to eliminate the gas tax would be the first of its kind in the nation.

The revenues lost from the fuels tax would be replaced dollar for dollar by the 0.9% increase in the state sales and use tax. Thus, the state and local sales tax in Virginia would be adjusted from 5.0% to 5.9%.

The change in the sales tax rate will apply only to those items currently subject to the 5% rate. If successful, this tax reform component of the bill would be the first
measure to halt the hemorrhaging of Virginia’s transportation trust fund and stabilize its revenue stream for decades.

2) Allocates an additional 0.5% of the undesignated state retail sales tax revenue that is not currently earmarked for a specific program to the Commonwealth Transportation Fund.

Over the term of the McDonnell Administration, the maintenance deficit (money taken from construction projects to simply maintain our roads) has averaged $488.7 million per year. Under Governor McDonnell, the combined annual revenue surpluses and agency year-end balances have averaged $465.5 million. The allocation of an additional 0.5% of the undesignated state retail sales tax revenue totals almost half a billion dollars. Thus, this prioritizing of surplus money can largely eliminate the transportation maintenance deficit.

Virginia would upfront allocate an amount roughly equal to our recent surpluses to transportation maintenance. Given that this money is derived from surplus revenues, it will not impact other vital programs funded by the Commonwealth.

Hugo acknowledged that there are some who might object to the use of general funds for transportation but stated, “The construction and maintenance of Virginia’s roads and bridges are core functions of government that must – finally — be treated as such.”

Delegate Hugo continued, “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the General Assembly in passing this legislation that will ‘stop the bleeding’ of the transportation trust fund and allocate almost half a billion dollars more to fix Virginia’s transportation problems. I am hopeful that Governor McDonnell will use my legislation as the platform to overhaul Virginia’s transportation funding mechanism.”

As the third ranking member in the Virginia House of Delegates leadership, Delegate Hugo currently serves as the Majority Caucus Chairman for the House Republican Caucus. He is the Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee and also serves on the Commerce and Labor, Transportation, and Privileges and Election Committees. Delegate Hugo represents Centreville, Clifton, Fairfax, and Fairfax Station in Fairfax County as well as Catharpin, Gainesville, Haymarket, and Manassas in Prince William County.

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Report Released

The Washington Council on International Trade WCIT is recently released this report “Wealth, Health and International Trade in the 21st Century: The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement and its impact on enhancing trade and continuing health and human development.”

The report shows that strong intellectual-property rights (IPR) protections must be included in the TPP agreement not only because of the economic and trade advantages of ensuring continued investment in biomedical and other forms of high technology research, but also because of the significant benefits to the health of people everywhere. For the state of Washington, with our fast growing life sciences and global health sectors, this issue is key for our economy.

To view the full report, please click here.

Governor Launches Mobile Business Application

From the Office of the Governor:

RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell today announced the launch of a free mobile application for eVA, Virginia’s award-winning electronic procurement system. The eVA Mobile 4 Business app allows anyone with an Internet-enabled mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, etc.) to have real-time access to Virginia government business opportunities—anywhere, anytime.

Virginia is the first state to launch a mobile app that brings bid opportunities and solicitations literally to the fingertips of its suppliers and the general public, giving them immediate access to the thousands of business opportunities published every year and providing increased visibility into how state government spends the taxpayers’ dollars.

“Success in business today requires real-time, mobile access to business opportunities,” said Governor McDonnell. “The eVA Mobile 4 Business app turns every smart phone into a portal to Virginia’s cutting edge e-procurement system. This app increases access and transparency for businesses and individuals, and by expanding the pool of potential bidders, will save taxpayer dollars. This first-of-its-kind mobile application will unleash the power of the private sector to deliver better, more cost-effective services to the citizens of Virginia.”

“Our company has utilized eVA since its inception to see what the Commonwealth is buying,” said Sandra Sylvester, President & CEO of Superior Global Solutions. “We are growing our reach within the Commonwealth and eVA is the key facilitator between small and diverse companies like ours and our public-sector customers.”

“Virginia has a long-standing record as the leading state for business, and CGI is extremely proud to do business here and call it our U.S. home,” said Mark Boyajian, Senior Vice-President, CGI. “This innovative mobile procurement application, developed by CGI, makes it easier for thousands of small businesses to participate in the procurement process with the Commonwealth, simply by using their mobile device.”

Whether in the office or on the move, the eVA Mobile 4 Business app gives businesses immediate access to all bid opportunities and solicitations published on eVA’s public Virginia Business Opportunities (VBO) page. The app also includes personalized features allowing businesses to follow specific opportunities by adding them to a Watch List. With a variety of other exciting features this app brings real business value to the world of mobile computing.

Getting the app is simple. Find it in the Apple and Android app stores by searching for eVA Mobile 4 Business or use your mobile browser to access the web version at www.eva.virginia.gov/evamobile.

The eVA Mobile 4 Business app is just the latest example of Virginia using technology to make it easier to do business with government, especially for small businesses to do business with Virginia, while increasing public visibility and government accountability.

Virginia’s eVA Program also recently launched Quick Quote Reverse Auction, an exciting addition to the system’s already powerful online bidding tools. This tool allows suppliers to bid multiple times offering better and better pricing for a single business opportunity thus increasing their chances to receive a contract. Unlike a standard auction where bid prices increase during the bidding period, Reverse Auction is designed to seek the lowest price for goods and services. King George County was the first to take the new tool for a “test drive” recognizing opportunities for increased competition and resulting savings. They were excited to see their first auction prices for a specialized fire department vehicle, which began at a high of $67,890, result in a winning low bid of $37,100, a savings of 45 percent.

Forbes.com recently lauded Virginia and the eVA Program as one of the top 10 state/local governments to storm industry by transacting into the Cloud. Cloud computing has proven that government agencies can provide improved services at lower cost. The Commonwealth of Virginia saves about $30 million annually through its eVA Program by leveraging a Software as a Service in the Cloud, which, to date, has conducted more than 3.7 million purchases for over $33 billion for hundreds of state agencies, institutions and local governments.

eVA is Virginia’s nationally and internationally recognized electronic procurement technology program that has won numerous awards for its success. International governments such as Canada and Portugal (representing a core of the European nations) have invited and funded travel for Virginia’s thought-leaders to visit and discuss electronic procurement programs. Currently more than 53,000 suppliers and over 22,000 state, higher education and local government users are in the system and use eVA daily to process procurements. eVA is how Virginia does business and since the beginning of the program the system has generated taxpayer savings in excess of $338 million.

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