Legislative Policy 2021
Bedford Area Chamber Supports:
• Investment in job training, education, and in-demand skills as means to higher earning potential, with regard for the implications of higher minimum wage mandates on jobs and small business operations.
• Proposals that will simplify the tax code and reduce the cost of compliance on businesses and individuals.
• Opposition of requirements to mandate collective bargaining, require binding arbitration, or repeal Virginia’s right-to-work law.
• Protection of Virginia’s existing Right-to-Work laws so that employees are not compelled to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
• Delaying the minimum wage increase until the economy recovers to pre-pandemic levels.
• Continued funding for economic development programs available through the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, GO Virginia and the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.
• Continued funding for Tourism and Agri-tourism initiatives.
• Policies that make it easier to conduct business in Bedford County.
• Virginia policies to invest in infrastructure to expand affordable broadband and telecommunication services in unserved areas to support education, telework, and telemedicine to enhance our area’s competitiveness in economic development.
• Funding for business growth and expansion programs such as the Enterprise Zone Program.
• Continued use of Historic Tax Credits as a revitalization tool.
• Full funding by the state or Federal government of any state or Federal mandates to localities.
• Further strengthening of revenue options for Virginia’s localities that were enhanced in the 2020 legislative session.
Workforce Development and Education
• We support efforts to increase teacher salaries, which will allow Virginia to better recruit and retain educators in a shrinking teacher workforce.
• We believe funding for workforce development is a priority for state, regional and local education providers and encourage adequate funding.
• We support an alignment between post-secondary education, colleges and universities and the business community to better meet industry, workforce, and talent needs.
• We support initiatives that strengthen connections among students, parents, educators, guidance counselors, and career coaches for career and technical education (CTE) opportunities and regionally in-demand careers.
• We support fully funding the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
• We’re concerned with any rush to legalize marijuana in Virginia specifically as this impacts business and manufacturing workplace safety, reinvestment initiatives, and attracting new industry to Bedford County.
• We encourage the General Assembly to actively support a passenger rail stop in Bedford. We believe that a passenger rail stop is one of the most important investments that could be made in our economy.
• We support more resources for multimodal transportation options.
• We support initiatives to make Highway 460 and U.S. 221 safer.
• We support initiatives that will provide business with more health care provider choices with lower costs.
• We support initiatives that will strengthen behavioral health services in the Bedford community.
COVID-19 and Other Health Emergencies
The Bedford Area Chamber supports measures to help businesses recover and operate during the COVID-19 pandemic and other health emergencies. We support:
• Accurate and prompt COVID-19 testing.
• Legal liability protections for businesses who follow health protocols.
• Continued affordable and reliable access to Personal Protective Equipment.
• Measures to reshore manufacturing of critical medical equipment.
• Reducing roadblocks for permitting/licensing childcare providers so that parents can continue to work during public health emergencies.