by Tyler Arnold
With Virginia’s 2022 legislative session underway, a small business association is asking lawmakers to consider tax relief, lower regulation and other policies to help the commonwealth’s business community.
The National Federation of Independent Business announced its Small Business Recovery Plan, which includes four legislation principles they hope lawmakers consider during the session. The NFIB plan includes lower taxes, repealing some regulations, financial assistance and unemployment insurance reform, which the group believes will help businesses that are still struggling from their pandemic-era losses, a labor shortage and skyrocketing inflation rates.
“Virginia’s small businesses have had a rough couple of years, starting with the pandemic and continuing with the labor shortage and disruptions to the supply chain,” NFIB State Director Julia Hammond said in a statement. “Our ‘Small Business Recovery Plan’ is a set of legislative principles that outlines the issues of greatest concern to Virginia’s small businesses. Legislators should keep these principles in mind while crafting bills during this year’s session of the General Assembly.”
According to the NFIB, tax relief will help businesses recover more quickly from the pandemic, keep and hire employees and bolster their communities. The group said the lawmakers should repeal onerous regulations and mandates and replace them with reasonable policies that won’t interfere with their ability to own, operate and grow their business.
Republicans control the House of Delegates and the governor’s office, but Democrats control the Senate. Both chambers of the General Assembly have narrow majorities. Leaders in both parties have called for tax reforms, but the Republican approach would be broader. Democrats and Republicans agree on ending the state’s grocery tax and offering tax rebates, but the Republican rebate plan would be a larger tax increase than the Democratic proposal. The Republican leaders also support doubling the standard deduction, which would broaden the tax relief, but this plan has received opposition from Democrats.
Former Gov. Ralph Northam proposed a state budget before leaving office, but Republican lawmakers are already working on revisions.
“Small business owners are doing everything they can to keep customers and employees safe and continue to provide the goods and services their customers need, but it isn’t easy, and it looks like the labor shortage and supply chain disruptions will remain an issue in the coming year,” Hammond said. “It’s essential that the Virginia House and Senate set partisan politics aside and pass commonsense legislation that ensures small businesses have the resources they so desperately need to survive this economic crisis.”
The NFIB also urged lawmakers to provide financial assistance for employers, both near and long term to assist with financial needs, which include rising health care costs. The group also supports meaningful unemployment reform to ensure that small businesses taxes do not increase because of fraudulent unemployment payments or overpayments.
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Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and West Virginia for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.
Photo “Staunton, Virginia” by Doug Kerr. CC BY-SA 2.0.