Approximately two weeks remain in the 2019 General Assembly Session, and so far this has been a successful Session for the Retail Industry.
Our main focus is on getting the Sales Tax Fairness legislation over the goal line. There have been a few amendments made to the original legislation to avoid wrapping up unintended parties into this legislation. We expect both HB 1722 and SB 1083, as amended, to pass the House and Senate this afternoon, as all revenue bills must be completed today. We will continue to keep you posted on the status of this legislation as it moves through the legislative process.
In addition to Sales Tax Fairness, there are a few remaining bills that we are working to defeat. One is SB 1553, which seeks to penalize retailers for shopping carts that are stolen from the retailer’s property and later abandoned by the thief. This bill passed out of the Senate on a vote of 21-19 and will be heard in House Sub-committee this week.
Also, we are working with a coalition to defeat SB 1535 which seeks to regulate outdoor signs located along highways. This bill could create a burden on our members by authorizing the Commissioner of Highways to remove any such sign without notice and at the cost of the owner if the Commissioner finds the sign to pose a high risk to highway/public safety.
Lastly, we are tracking HB 1634 which would allow the County of Halifax to impose a referendum to raise the sales tax to fund a new school building. While we understand the reason behind the legislation, VRF feels that this is setting up bad tax policy which would allow other localities to come back year after year requesting the same treatment. Eventually, we could see differing sales tax rates throughout the commonwealth which would create a lack of uniformity and cross-border sales for our members.
We will continue to keep you posted as the 2019 Session Continues to unfold. To see a complete list of bills we are following, click here.