Thursday, August 13, 2009

2009 Community Legislative Package Meeting

This evening the City of Virginia Beach held it's annual Community Legislative Package meeting at the convention center. About 80 people were in attendance.

The three big topics of the night:

1. Transportation - everyone agrees our roads are a problem; how will we pay for better? Bob Purkey thinks that the 2011 redistricting will shift enough General Assembly seats from rural areas to Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia that we'll be able to redraw the state's funding formula.

Joe Bouchard covered why using the General Fund for Transportation has clear limits: Federal law requires that to get Federal Transportation matching funds, the state must have a dedicated revenue stream able to make the match. Since General Fund monies don't meet the legal definition, they can't be applied.

2. Public Employee Pensions - the uncovered pension liabilities by the state are 32% for teachers, 24% overall. Purkey stated that half of the states are now issuing bonds to raise the funds to cover pension liabilities.

In addition, the City of Virginia Beach's number of people on disability for job-related injuries is six times the state average.

Business leaders want Virginia to move from a defined benefit to a defined contribution system. However, Bobby Mathieson hedged. (What did I post over the weekend about him and the public employees unions?)

3. Dillon Rule - Glen Davis continued his campaign against it's restrictions. The consensus was that some of it's restrictions need relaxed, but it should largely remain in place.

A few other issues of note:

1. CCO Previous President Chandler Scarborough called for workers compensation insurance reform. As a property manager, when he has to call a contractor out for a repair, about half the price is the embedded cost of workers compensation insurance.

2. Former Amerigroup CEO and state Senate hopeful Jeff McWaters wants to tackle Medicaid reform, arguing that Virginia can both cut the cost and improve benefits at the same time.

3. Mac Rawls wants tax credits to aid maintenance of historic structures. Barry Knight stated he would patron such a bill if City Council endorses it in the legislative package.

The Blooper Of The Night Award goes to School Board member Brent McKenzie. Speaking on the School Board's requests, he said they want to be able to open schools prior to Labor Day "when Labor Day falls in the second week of August." (He's a Facebook friend, but I have to call a Dem on that slip.)

City Council will be be briefed on the draft package on September 1, there will then be a Public Hearing, with Council approval expected on September 22.


Anonymous said...

Starting school after labor day has always been disadvantageous to AP students, who have less instruction time before the tests, and who end up twiddling their thumbs, watching movies, or doing nothing in class after the AP exams in early May until the end of the school year.

Oh, and I wonder how, specifically, Jeff McWaters wants to tackle Medicaid reform. I bet I can guess! ;) I wonder how Amerigroup's clients are actually (objectively, honestly) faring in that arena, if it is good, then it may be worth Virginia looking into.

Anonymous said...

Virginia is 49th in Medicaid reimbursements. 70% of which goes to nursing home costs. How low do we want to go?