Arlington County prepares for legislative session

December 30, 2011

Arlington County’s agenda for the upcoming Virginia General Assembly session identified more than two dozen priorities, including housing and human services. Officials are asking to:

Finance

Retain all current local taxing authority, including Arlington County’s ability to collect business license and machinery and tool taxes. Ensure the collection by online travel companies of state sales and hotel taxes. Restore all state funding to local governments and oppose any mandates that are not fully funded.

Transportation

Ensure full funding of transportation maintenance and construction costs and make sure that Virginia meets its long-term funding commitment to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Local authority

Permit local governments to decide which benefits to offer employees, equalize the county’s tax and bond authority with those of cities and remove restrictions on local zoning authority or zoning processes. Arlington County also opposes the proposed constitutional amendment that would restrict its eminent domain authority.

Housing

Create a state housing trust fund with a dedicated source of revenue to provide statewide funding for affordable housing, and assist low-income tenants who want to stay in their communities while housing is being upgraded.

Civil rights initiatives

Oppose state mandates that would require local law enforcement to check immigration status during routine stops. Support in-state tuition rates for all high school graduates, including undocumented students who are residents.

Public safety

Support additional domestic violence protections and expansion of mental health resources for children and youth who were exposed to domestic and teen dating violence. Support jail diversion efforts for those with mental health or substance abuse issues. Support full state funding for Line of Duty benefits.

Energy and environment

Maintain funding for water supply and water quality. Support state and local environmental sustainability programs and policies, including funding.

Human services

Criminalize the financial exploitation of older and vulnerable adults. Support keeping seniors and people with disabilities in their homes and communities by enhancing funds for nutrition, transportation and in-home care. Increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for personal care services and provide workers access to affordable health insurance and advanced training.

Arlington County would also support funding post-acute, community-based care for older adults with severe mental health issues. It wants restoration of 19 adult beds at the Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute and implementation of regional crisis intervention and stabilization for children and older adults with mental health issues. It’s against the state’s attempt to shift costs to local governments by moving children who receive mental health services out of Medicaid. Finally, it supports the restoration of reproductive health services.

The county’s complete agenda can be found at www.arlingtonva.us/departments/County
Manager/file84288.pdf
.

Patricia Sullivan seeks out news about Alexandria and Arlington County for the Washington Post.
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