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Public Policy Positions

The Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce (“GRCC”) represents the interests of 650+ businesses employing some 10,000 employees in the Dulles Business Corridor which is home to the  largest concentration of technology companies in Virginia. Members of GRCC represent the full spectrum of local, regional, national and international businesses from all industry segments and in all stages of growth.

GRCC strongly believes that the business community should be a stakeholder in any discussion and development of proposed, new or amended law, policy, regulation or other type of local, state or federal government-imposed rule that would impact the cost, operations or growth of business in Virginia.

The goal of this Public Policy document is to provide a unified voice on issues that are most important to Chamber members. A committee comprised of Chamber members meets monthly to review issues of importance to our constituency and updates this policy statement at least annually.  All Public Policy Position statements are approved by the GRCC Board of Directors prior to publication.

2013-2014 PUBLIC POLICY POSITIONS

 General Business Issues       Education 
 Taxation and Budget       Technology
 Sequestration       Land Use
 Transportation       Immigration 
 Energy       Environment 
 Workforce / Affordable Housing       Health Care 
 Economic Development        

GENERAL BUSINESS ISSUES

GRCC believes that all levels of government should conduct regular periodic reviews of all regulations and ordinances to assess the continued relevancy and efficacy of these regulations, with a particular emphasis on eliminating those that unnecessarily hinder job and economic growth.

Ethics Reform
GRCC strongly supports a legal and regulatory framework that requires and clearly defines the highest standards of ethical behavior and accountability for all government officials – whether elected or appointed, and at all levels of government.

Dillon Rule
GRCC supports maintaining the integrity of Virginia’s Dillon Rule.

Right to Work
GRCC supports Virginia’s current “right to work” statute and opposes any effort to repeal or modify it. Consistent with that, GRCC supports the right to employment without the requirement that employees join or support a labor union. The Chamber opposes the creation of “micro-unions,” which undermine Virginia’s right-to-work laws by allowing unions to be formed, not by the preference of the employees as a whole, but rather by each individual department, section or other faction within a workplace. In addition, the Chamber opposes the “Employee Free Choice Act,” which proposes to eliminate the secret ballot currently required to conduct an organizing vote, as well as any legislative and/or regulatory proposals to authorize federal government officials to impose workplace rules, such as wage levels and work hours, and collective bargaining, in the absence of an agreement between management and employees, and the imposition of additional sanctions, such as fines against businesses for unintentional violations during the union recognition process.

Initiative and Referendum
GRCC opposes any amendment to the Virginia Constitution to incorporate initiative and referendum procedures that bypass the legislature.

Davis-Bacon Act
GRCC supports the outright repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires businesses to pay employees in the construction industry government-determined prevailing wages and benefits on federal and federally-assisted construction contracts exceeding $2,000 in total cost.

Project Labor Agreements
GRCC opposes project labor agreements (PLAs) mandated by local, state and federal governments, and other entities, on taxpayer-funded construction projects. Government-mandated PLAs end open, fair and competitive bidding on public works projects by discouraging competition from qualified nonunion contractors and their nonunion employees.

Workers’ Compensation
GRCC supports maintaining a regulatory and legislative climate conducive to the continuation of affordable and available workers’ compensation coverage for businesses, and opposes any changes to the system that would increase costs or regulatory burdens on businesses or otherwise undermine the law’s existing sound principles and purpose. The Chamber further supports current laws for the compensation of employees for injuries incurred on the job and supports the current definition of a work-related injury with a focus on returning the worker to gainful employment.

Equal Opportunity
The GRCC is committed to equal employment opportunity in all employment practices including hiring, training, compensation, benefits, promotion, transfer, termination, and reduction in force, for all individuals without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age disability, or veteran status.  The Chamber encourages employers to take positive steps to ensure that their work forces make full utilization of the human resources available to them.  The Chamber, therefore, supports legislative efforts, which assist employers to adhere to these principles and opposes efforts which place intolerable administrative burdens on employers and which encourage litigation.

Background Checks
Criminal and credit background checks can be a useful tool for employers to protect customers, workers and assets. GRCC opposes any effort to restrict the ability of employers to use these tools to appropriately screen job applicants.

Unemployment Insurance
The GRCC supports Virginia’s unemployment compensation law, the primary purpose of which is to provide adequate and temporary financial assistance to employees who become unemployed through no fault of their own. The Chamber opposes efforts to extend benefits to workers who through their own actions or inactions become unemployed as a result during the period of an employer initiated lockout or an employee strike.

Privitization and Insourcing
GRCC supports use of both public and private sector resources to meet key government needs. The Chamber further contends that, when possible, all levels of government should look to the  private sector  as providers of products and services, especially in those areas where the private sector can demonstrate an ongoing and clear advantage in costs and expertise. Further, GRCC urges caution in the current Federal government policy of “insourcing” private sector resources into government, as such employment transfers can have substantial economic impacts on the regional economy and result in reduced tax collections as government employment replaces private employment.

Unfunded Mandates and Policies
GRCC opposes the imposition of unfunded mandates or policy positions, particularly those that would require Virginia’s businesses and other taxpayers to fund the long-term costs of these mandates.

Civil Justice
GRCC firmly supports maintaining Virginia’s common sense legal system, which has enabled the Commonwealth to achieve its best-in-class economic environment.  The Chamber also firmly opposes measures that would increase the burden of excessive litigation and diminish Virginia’s competitive position. GRCC advocates the provision of an adequate number of state court judges in order to assure the reduction in high court case loads to ensure the effective and timely administration of justice which promotes the welfare and public safety of our community and business stability. Specifically, GRCC supports prompt appointment of new judges to replace any retiring judges in the circuit court and the appropriation of funding for additional judicial positions in the circuit court to accommodate the increasing civil and criminal caseload in the circuit court.

Property Rights
GRCC believes that government laws, regulations and policies should not unnecessarily restrict private property rights, and believes that private property owners should be justly compensated for any unjust reductions in the value of their property caused by government actions. GRCC specifically supports the rights of property owners and believes they must be fairly balanced.

TAXATION AND BUDGET

GRCC supports the creation of a finance system for local and state government that properly aligns revenue sources with expenditure requirements.  To achieve this objective, GRCC supports the following: 

  • Using unbudgeted and nonrecurring surplus tax revenues to fund nonrecurring capital expenditures in the areas of transportation and education or to supplement the Commonwealth’s rainy day fund, rather than for new or recurring programmatic expenses;
  • Consideration of tax simplification strategies at the state and local level;
  • Revenue sharing with localities to ensure that local governments can share in the growth of revenues created by increased economic activity; 
  • General Assembly providing counties with the same taxing authority as cities and towns;\
  • Continued development of a uniform sales tax nationally which is applicable to internet transactions;
  • Maintaining Virginia’s tradition of uniform taxation of residential and commercial property for General Fund matters.
  • Involving all stakeholders in a comprehensive review of Virginia’s existing state and local tax policy to determine where reform is needed to insure a fair and balanced tax structure that does not overburden citizens or businesses and raises sufficient revenue for government priorities at the level at which the programs and services are provided.

GRCC opposes any amendment to the Virginia Constitution permitting the creation of a homestead exemption or similar tax policy that would result in higher commercial real estate taxes through creation of a new class of real property that may be exempted from local taxation.

The GRCC opposes the imposition of unfunded mandates or policy positions, particularly those that would require Virginia’s businesses and other taxpayers to fund the long-term costs of these mandates.

SEQUESTRATION
Position on Government use of automatic budget cuts as a means of economic checks and balance (i.e. Sequestration):

GRCC neither supports nor endorses the use of automatic budget cuts as a means to align political agendas, defend political positions, manage economic disparity, and/or create a means to ensure future budget changes occur (i.e. 2013-2021 Sequestration developed by during the Budget Control Act of 2011). The indiscriminate nature of long term automatics budget cuts fail to address the underlying issues that drive the debt and deficit spending problems.  GRCC supports thoughtful and disciplined budget cuts.

GRCC will support efforts to address local, state and federal revenue and deficit challenges through an informed, thoughtful and comprehensive debt reduction plan.  Such a plan may include a phased-in, approach to entitlement spending and revenue generation reforms.

GRCC opposes government shutdowns because of the negative impacts on its members particularly contractors, commercial business owners as well as government employees. Shutdowns have a domino effect on the economy and impact all segments of business.


TRANSPORTATION

In 2013 GRCC supported passage by the General Assembly and Governor McDonnell of comprehensive legislation that will provide significant, dedicated and reliable funding for state and regional transportation projects and services.
 
GRCC  supports development and use of performance-based statewide and regional transportation plans focused on existing and new corridors of significance to direct these new revenues to multi-modal transportation solutions that will minimize congestion, increase safety and support economic development.

Funding
In addition to state funding, GRCC supports the use of creative transportation financing and procurement mechanisms, including new tolls on roads currently not tolled as long as revenue is dedicated to improvements in that corridor, public/private partnerships, design-build, the use of debt financing, provided that it does not threaten Virginia’s AAA bond rating, and use of High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes.

GRCC supports revisions to the transportation funding formulas so that they better address the needs of heavily congested regions in the Commonwealth, such as Northern Virginia. GRCC also supports legislation that would prohibit borrowing from the Transportation Trust Fund. 

As Congress looks to reauthorize the six-year surface transportation act, GRCC supports efforts to secure federal funding for transit and highway programs in the national capital area to improve mobility in light of increased security concerns. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) and the Commonwealth of Virginia Loudoun and Fairfax Counties and all of the stakeholders should actively seek federal (including TIFIA loans), state, local and other revenue sources for Phase II of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project to minimize impact on drivers of the Dulles Toll Road.

Dulles Toll Road Improvements and Coordination
The GRCC contends that, following the transfer of operational authority for the Dulles Toll Road to the MWAA and the importance of tolls in the funding of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, enhanced oversight, transparency and accountability for the expenditure of Toll Road revenues is vital to ensure the impacts of MWAA decisions on Reston’s businesses are properly considered.

Transportation Projects (following not listed in priority order)
With regard to specific projects and initiatives in Northern Virginia, GRCC supports:

  • Expedited construction of Metrorail through Tyson’s Corner to Washington Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County;
  • Approval and construction of another Potomac River crossing;
  • Further study of the new North-South Corridor of Statewide Significance and complete the NEPA analysis for the Bi-County Parkway to determine the correct multi-modal improvements to enhance south-north access to Washington Dulles International Airport.
  • Expansion of I-66 inside the Beltway, with an emphasis on adding a third lane to and completing the extension of the third lane between Ballston and the Dulles Connector Road;
  • Completion of the conversion of Route 28 into an 8-lane limited access freeway between I-66 and Route 7;
  • Completion of the I-95/395 HOT Lanes. Completion of the Loudoun County Parkway per the master plan alignment;
  • Upgrading the Route 606 western loop around Dulles Airport; 
  • Enhancements to the regional bus transit system serving the region’s most congested corridors;
  • Innovative business solutions that encourage telework and other cutting-edge virtual workplace initiatives, as well as government incentives to encourage greater use of telework and other transportation demand management measures;
  • Increasing the efficiency of the existing transportation system through expanded use of technology;
  • Increased use of special tax districts throughout the Commonwealth to help fund transportation projects;
  • Work with property owners regarding the existing and new on/off access ramps on the Dulles Toll Road (DTR) to provide improved access to future Metrorail stations; and
  • Undertake a study of the feasibility of providing additional tolls at the westbound Route 7 ramp on the DTR and the Route 123 ramps along the Dulles Connector Road as potential additional funding sources for Dulles Metrorail.

With respect to local projects in the Reston area, GRCC supports the inclusion of the following items in the Fairfax County Transportation Plan to allow for future funding:
Immediate Improvements for Congestion Relief (following not listed in priority order):

  • Development of a plan and budget to implement the roadway, transit, pedestrian and bicycle improvements recommended in the Reston Metrorail Station Access Study to enhance ridership and reduce congestion;
  • Allow greater local flexibility in road standards to support true mixed use urban design in land use planning and to take advantage of adding Metrorail to Reston;
  • Enhancement of the Fairfax Connector and Reston Internal Bus system transit systems to provide convenient and frequent access to the rail transit stations serving Reston;
  • Expedited widening of Route 7 from Rolling Holly Road to Reston Avenue;
  • Realignment of Sunset Hills Road to meet Crowell Road;
  • Widen Reston Parkway to six lanes between the Toll Road and Lawyers Road;
  • Construction of improvements at the intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley Drive; 
  • Expand the Hunter Mill and Springvale Road bridges;
  • GRCC supports consideration of private streets in conjunction with redevelopment at the Metrorail transit station areas to provide greater flexibility in their design and use; 
  • GRCC supports a parking study that would examine parking requirements, parking pricing, and joint development and shared parking opportunities resulting from the coming of rail and the related transit-oriented development; and
  • Construction of  new roadway across  the Dulles International Airport Access Highway between Soapstone Drive between Isaac Newton Square West and Plaza America to enhance access to the Wiehle Avenue Metrorail Station, which will open late 2013/early 2014.

Future Capacity Improvements (not listed in priority order):

  • Widen Leesburg Pike (Route 7) to six lanes from Rolling Holly Drive to Tyco Road to include a grade-separated interchange at Route 7 and Baron Cameron Avenue;
  • Reconstruct Wiehle Avenue between Sunset Hills Road and Baron Cameron Avenue to modify grades and turning radii to increase driver safety;
  • Widen Sunset Hills Road between Reston Parkway and Wiehle Avenue into a six-lane divided road with limited turn movements;
  • Construction of a diamond or cloverleaf interchange at Fairfax County Parkway and Sunset Hills Road;
  • Construction of any new roadways crossing the Dulles Toll Road between Hunter Mill Road and Route 28 to enhance access to all new metro rail stations;
  • Construction of roadways parallel to Sunrise Valley Drive and Sunset Hills Boulevard to offer options for east-west travel in the Dulles Corridor as  part of the grid network serving redevelopment (new transit-oriented  development); and Construction of a grade-separated interchange at Sunrise Valley Drive and the Fairfax County Parkway.

GRCC supports efforts to conserve and make more efficient use of fuel, as well as those that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These include incentives to increase vehicle mileage and the use of alternative fuels, as well as providing more mode choices for commute and non-commute trips.

ENERGY

GRCC supports a reliable and affordable energy supply that keeps pace with Northern Virginia’s growing population and economy. GRCC encourages the development of new electricity generation and transmission infrastructure. Renewable energy, as well as increased energy conservation and efficiency, also should be included in the Commonwealth’s energy portfolio. GRCC supports market-based incentives and sustainable initiatives that can reduce energy use while contributing to the Commonwealth’s environmental goals. Such initiatives include alternative energy, green buildings and transit oriented development. Statewide policies can serve as cost-effective incentives for their implementation.

 

WORKFORCE / AFFORDABLE HOUSING

 

GRCC recognizes that housing policy is an essential factor in economic development and supports the following initiatives to address the workforce needs in Northern Virginia: 

  • Increase funding to the statewide Housing Trust Fund and other recommendations of Governor McDonnell’s Housing Policy task force to increase the availability of housing options to meet the needs of a growing regional workforce;
  • Maintain the Fairfax County Bridging Affordability Fund as a stable, flexible source of local funds for the preservation and development of workforce/affordable housing; and
  • Federal, state and local incentives, such as tax credit programs, to maximize the production of affordable and workforce housing in high-density development and/or transit centers, particularly new development at the Wiehle and Reston Town Center Metrorail Stations.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

GRCC supports continued focus on maintaining and improving the region’s quality of life and overall economic climate through strategic economic development efforts.  To meet this goal, GRCC recommends:

  • Full funding for the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) and its efforts to serve the existing business community, attract new businesses and generate new jobs in the Dulles Business Corridor;
  • Promotion of arts, tourism and cultural opportunities, including support for the Chamber’s Business and Visitor’s Center;
  • Funding support for the Chamber’s INC.spire Education Foundation with its incubator, student education and Business Education Series programs as a source of job creation and tax revenue from home-grown businesses;
  • Increased use of public-private economic development partnerships to facilitate and encourage economic revitalization or redevelopment in older commercial and residential areas of Fairfax County, such as joint development opportunities on public lands;
  • Consideration by the Commonwealth of the full economic impact of a business’ and/or industry’s presence in Virginia prior to creating or removing any business tax exemption; and
  • GRCC supports amending Fairfax County ordinances to remove the current requirement for hotels to provide lifeguards for guest swimming pools. Failing that, the Chamber supports modifications to enabling legislation to restrict the County’s authority to require such accommodations

GRCC also encourages the continued full funding of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) incentive and retention programs, coupled with significant increases to the Governor’s Opportunity Fund (GOF) and the broadening of the eligibility requirements under both programs based on a firm’s contributions to increased local tax revenues. GRCC also supports a greater emphasis and eligibility from both funds being directed toward Northern Virginia based companies.

GRCC opposes arbitrary efforts to limit or suspend economic growth and opposes excessive and inconsistent restrictions placed on new business development or expansion that do not contribute materially to improving the quality of the business environment in Virginia.
 
EDUCATION

Elementary and Secondary Education
GRCC supports:

  • Regional collaboration and increased state funding to meet Fairfax County’s growing education needs;
  • Revisions to the state’s local composite index formula to recognize the growing burden on localities to fund education needs associated with changing demographics, such as those associated with ESL students and students with disabilities;
  • Efforts to expand pre-school and school readiness programs in Virginia, especially in programs focused in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) learning;
  • Greater coordination between K-12 curriculum and higher education to reduce the need for remediation courses at Virginia’s colleges and universities;
  • Continued use of local government bonding capacity and public-private partnerships to build and renovate schools, including establishment of federal tax credits to promote private sector investments in education infrastructure; 
  • Increased efficiency and prioritization within the Fairfax County Public Schools budget, including conducting regularly scheduled  independent audit of the system to identify programs that may be merged, expanded and/or eliminated; 
  • Continued commitment to offering competitive compensation to attract and retain teachers; and
  • Increased federal funding to meet the requirements of the federal mandates.

In addition, GRCC opposes independent taxing authority for elected local school boards.

Higher Education
GRCC supports: 

  • Bond and General Fund initiatives that finance critically needed capital infrastructure at Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University by taking advantage of historically low construction costs;
  • Maintenance of authority granted to the boards of visitors at Virginia’s colleges and universities to set appropriate tuition and fees for individual institutions;
  • Securing sustainable and predictable per-student state funding that supports Virginia’s colleges and universities and their ability to serve the Commonwealth student population. This is particularly critical for Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University as they work to accommodate more in-state students and help the Commonwealth meet its workforce needs.

GRCC supported adoption of the Top Jobs for the 21st Century (Top Jobs 21) legislation proposed by the Governor and adopted by the General Assembly. As our education and political leadership moves towards implementation, GRCC asks decision-makers to place priority on funding and implementing these elements:

  • Incentives for public institutions to graduate Virginia residents with STEM-H degrees and certificates;
  • Providing incentives for public and private non-profit institutions to advance research partnerships that discover the products and services that will be the foundation for future jobs in the Commonwealth; and
  • Funding the Tuition Assistance Grant program at a level that allows Virginia’s private, non-profit institutions to be contributors in meeting the 100,000 goal of STEM-h graduates.

TECHNOLOGY 

GRCC supports measures that will enhance Virginia’s position as a leader in global technology as well as maintaining its competitiveness and status as a great state in which to do business.

With regard to technology infrastructure, GRCC supports:

  • A strong Secretary of Technology with budgetary authority and direct oversight of technology policy, operation and infrastructure in the state;
  • Sustained investments in technology research to foster innovation, build knowledge capital, and increase long-term commercialization potential;
  • Measures to promote the formation of new technology and IP-based companies in the state in order to diversify the technology industry and generate economic growth;  
  • Incentives to encourage the relocation of existing technology companies to Virginia, i.e., increase funding for the Governor’s Opportunity Fund, tax credits for business facilities, etc.); 
  • Investments in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) Education at all levels from grade school through higher education programs; and
  • Continued support for the Center for Innovative Technology’s efforts to encourage economic development and commercialization of technology. 

GRCC also supports policies and measures that help to safeguard businesses and consumers from external technology assaults and/or hacking, that can lead to the disruption and loss of technology access and information.

 
LAND USE

GRCC supports:

  • Retention of the Reston Master Plan as amended as the principal tool for guiding development and redevelopment in Reston;
  • Expeditious adoption of amendments to the Reston Master Plan and the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan to facilitate high density, transit-oriented and economically-viable redevelopment adjacent to the three planned Reston-area metro transit stations along the Dulles Corridor, with a goal of achieving a mix of employment options and both market-rate and workforce/affordable housing that is easily accessible and pedestrian-friendly as well as facilitate revitalization and, where appropriate, economically-viable redevelopment of the existing Village Centers to offer a broad choices in jobs, housing, transportation, and lifestyles;
  • Promotion of transit-oriented development (“TOD”) principles as a primary growth strategy for sustaining economic vitality, preserving green space, encourage developer to incorporate geothermal, solar, LEED, use of recycled materials and other energy efficient designs as part of the initial construction and protecting established neighborhoods;
  • Incorporation of the Reston Metrorail Access Group’s (“RMAG”) recommendations for transit station access improvements into Fairfax County’s Comprehensive Plan;
  • Use of air rights and joint development opportunities at planned rail transit stations, including incorporation of design measures at station platforms to allow stations to be retrofitted with such development in the future; 
  • Continued use of negotiated proffers, in lieu of standardized impact fees or similar charges, as part of rezoning applications to ensure that local community priorities and impacts are appropriately addressed; 
  • Adoption of policies and procedures that recognize the unique qualities of urban mixed use employment centers in Fairfax County; 
  • Retention of the Fairfax County tax abatement program for the rehabilitation of and reinvestment in older properties; and
  • Cooperation and open communication between the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Fairfax County, and Reston community organizations.

IMMIGRATION 

Immigrants have played an increasingly important role in the prosperity and growth of Northern Virginia, filling key jobs in every sector of our economy and contributing to the rich cultural and intellectual experience that characterizes our region. The GRCC recognizes that the importance of immigrants to the economy must be balanced by border security concerns and, therefore, supports comprehensive Federal immigration reform that will: 

  • Ensure an adequate supply of workers to support businesses in this region, including a limited guest worker program to fill gaps in our workforce;  
  • Continue and expand visas for professionals and highly skilled workers, and programs that support seasonal industries and small businesses; 
  • Require undocumented workers already contributing to the economy to meet specific conditions and obligations in order to earn the legal right to remain in the US;
  • Simplify requirements and processes for worker verification and ask Congress to establish a reliable national verification system;
  • Urge Congress and the administration to address delays, backlogs, and  disruptions in our immigration and border management systems that impede the movement of legitimate cargo and travelers across US borders; and
  • Apply a commonsense uniform approach to support enforcement of existing Federal immigration laws.

GRCC, however, opposes increased penalties on employers who unknowingly hire undocumented aliens until a consistent, reliable process for worker verification system is established. GRCC advocates that any such worker verification system not unduly burden employers, be properly funded, and have a high data integrity confidence factor.

 ENVIRONMENT

GRCC believes that environmental protection should begin with educational efforts aimed at encouraging environmental stewardship by all citizens and organizations. GRCC opposes implementing unnecessarily burdensome or costly regulations offering only marginal benefits to the environment. GRCC encourages the voluntary efforts of businesses, organizations and individuals to positively impact the environment.

GRCC supports:

GRCC believes that environmental protection should begin with educational efforts aimed at encouraging environmental stewardship by all citizens and organizations. GRCC opposes implementing unnecessarily burdensome or costly regulations offering only marginal benefits to the environment. GRCC encourages the voluntary efforts of businesses, organizations and individuals to positively impact the environment.

GRCC supports:

  • Innovative approaches focused on achieving sustainable environmental improvements while maintaining a healthy economic climate;
  • The concept that state regulations adopted to implement federally mandated programs should not be more stringent than federal requirements; 
  • Incentive-based environmental initiatives based on voluntary compliance, including Fairfax County’s Environmental Improvement Program, (“EIP”) the Virginia Municipal League’s Green Government Challenge, and other market-based voluntary initiatives supporting conservation, efficiency, and other economically viable green practices;
  • The vigorous application of its existing regulatory reform policies and procedures before adopting any new environmental regulations and the minimization of any financial burden or degradation of the County’s tax base which may result from the imposition of such measures both businesses and residents;
  • Streamlined administrative development review processes, annual updates to the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance, regular updates to the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan which incorporate incentives for    environmental sustainability and energy efficiency;
  • Continued efforts to comply with existing federal and  state air and water quality standards using improved technology and cost-effective measures that meet the unique needs of localities while offering substantial results;
  • Specific educational programs and voluntary efforts that promote the reduction of litter and its impact on the environment;
  • A policy to encourage the development of technology and other programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and promote public health;
  • Storm water management regulations that focus on both agricultural and manmade storm runoff and do not impose disproportionate burdens on economic development and redevelopment projects that contribute substantially to Virginia’s tax base;
  • A final federally-mandated Watershed Improvement Plan (“WIP”) that achieves the requirements imposed by state and federal governments with the least possible cost and burden to Reston’s businesses and commercial taxpayers; 
  • A fully-funded state-level water management and erosion and sediment control program that does not impose disproportionate burdens on economic development and redevelopment projects that contribute substantially to Fairfax County’s tax base;
  • Cooperative efforts between Reston Association, Fairfax County, and the Commonwealth to protect the environment.

HEALTH CARE

GRCC recognizes the importance of the healthcare industry to the economy and the community, and supports federal and state reimbursement levels that do not harm providers or result in a shift of the payment burden to the private sector. GRCC also supports federal health reforms, including the implementation of a robust Health Insurance Marketplace as a way to reduce the number of those without insurance, but assert that the costs of reform should not be borne disproportionately by the business community which has, in general, provided coverage for its workforce.  With reform, the Chamber supports initiatives to improve quality and lower costs, promote pay-for-performance, ensure fair regulation of the insurance market,  expand the adoption of healthcare IT,  and implement tort reform. In addition, GRCC supports the extension of Medicaid in the Commonwealth along with a fundamental reform of the Medicaid program, including but not limited to benefit adjustment and care management reform.

GRCC specifically supports policies that:

  • Support collaborative efforts between healthcare stakeholders, including providers, purchasers, insurers and consumers, to ensure continued innovation and creativity in the private marketplace; 
  • Expand healthcare infrastructure in the region to meet community needs, including planning for emergency and pandemic preparedness;
  • Increase the pipeline of qualified health care professionals and incent top performers;
  • Rely on market forces rather than government mandates to encourage availability of a variety of health insurance plans and options to businesses of all sizes, including sole proprietors, and the ability for employers to offer a choice of plans to employees, even in small groups;
  • Reduce the state’s burden and provide tax incentives to help small businesses offset the staggering increases in health insurance and costs;
  • Reduce or limit health plan and employer liability in order to allow for more affordable health insurance; 
  • Create forward-funded, refundable tax credits for the purchase of private health coverage for low- and moderate-income individuals and families and other programs that incent participation;
  • Promote workplace and community prevention and wellness initiatives that encourage personal responsibility;
  • Limit legislation that requires employers to cover specific benefits due to the connection between mandated benefits and increased health insurance premiums for businesses; and
  • Increase access to, and availability of, verifiable easily understood data to enable consumers to make informed and educated healthcare choices.
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