Minchew Minute: Budget, School Improvement and Entrepreneurs

February 23, 2012

 

Budget Work Begins

Last Sunday night, the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee each adopted revisions to the budget introduced by the Governor. With less than a month left of session, a great deal of time will be spent in consideration of the many revisions that both houses proposed.

Yesterday the House Republican Caucus held a Budget Press Conference focusing on the House Appropriation’s amendments to the governor’s proposed budget. They addressed the issues that are at the forefront of consideration as the house and senate moves towards passage of the budget before the session ends.

Improving Public Schools

A child’s educational opportunities should be determined by his or her intellect and work ethic, not his or her zip code. Both HB 321 and SB 131 spur private-sector investment into the effort to remove the educational challenges of low-income students.

Versions of the Education Improvement Scholarship bill have passed the House and Senate and are in both the House and Senate Finance Committees.

Governor McDonnell applauded the Senate’s passage of the bill saying, “Virginia students deserve a world-class education regardless of their zip code and socio-economic status. Public and Private sector entities must come together to provide every possible opportunity for students to get the education they need to fill the good jobs available in the 21st century.”

Indeed a child’s educational opportunities should be determined by his or her intellect and work ethic, not his or her zip code. Both HB 321 and SB 131 spur private-sector investment into the effort to remove the educational challenges of low-income students.

The House and Senate versions establish a tax credit for donations by individuals or corporations to nonprofit organizations providing education improvement scholarships to low-income students or eligible students with disabilities in order for them to attend nonpublic elementary or secondary schools.

The Virginia Department of Taxation noted that the Department of Education would see cost reductions. In this bill, corporations and individuals would receive a 70% state tax credit for contributions to K-12 scholarship foundations and the foundation must spend 90% of the contribution on direct scholarships for low-income students.

In other words, a $100,000 donation will “cost” the state $70,000 in tax credits, but it will “save” the state $90,000 in state education expenses. Additionally, local governments may save additional funds per child that money to a nonpublic school.

2012: Year of the Entrepreneur

2012 has been declared “The Year of the Entrepreneur”:

The Year of the Entrepreneur

WHEREAS, the health, prosperity and vitality of our Commonwealth’s economy is tied directly to the leadership, motivation, and inspiration of entrepreneurs; and

WHEREAS, the engine of our economy is driven by the new ventures and enterprises created by the innovative minds of entrepreneurs, and it is their ideas that generate commerce and create jobs within our Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, it is because of their vision, ingenuity and productivity that countless advancements have been made in the global marketplace today; and

WHEREAS, 75 percent of our nation’s 26 million business firms are run by self-employed men and women, with approximately 2,300 individuals becoming independent entrepreneurs each day; and

WHEREAS, it is incumbent on our Commonwealth to provide an economic climate in which entrepreneurs can grow and thrive and create good paying jobs for our citizens; and

WHEREAS, we must prioritize the investment in the entrepreneurial education of our youth, which in turn will lead to improvements in the long-term development of our workplaces and communities; and

WHEREAS, it is crucial that our Commonwealth actively inspires young leadership and provides students with the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to be competitive leaders in the successful businesses of tomorrow;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert F. McDonnell, do hereby recognize the year two thousand and twelve as THE YEAR OF THE ENTREPRENEUR in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of our citizens.

Virginia has a vast array of resources and tools to support the innovative individuals who want to do business in the Commonwealth.

The work of the General Assembly is crucial to creating the kind of business environment that will make entrepreneurs want to start and stay in the Commonwealth. We are working hard to make sure that 2012 and beyond are great years for Virginia business.