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Virginia Economic Roundup: Repeal of Hybrid Car Tax Among Laws Going Into Effect

July 31, 2018

Several new Virginia state laws went into effect Tuesday, July 1, including a repeal of a tax on hybrid cars. The tax on hybrid vehicles had been $64 a year.

Legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe became law July 1 unless a bill contained an emergency clause.

The two bills introduced at the VSCPA’s request — the establishment of the Interest Charge-Domestic International Sales Corporation (IC-DISC) export tax incentive in Virginia and an exemption for CPAs from licensing, certification and training requirements for private security services businesses — went into effect, as did the patent infringement bill that the Society supported as part of a coalition.

July 4 Holiday Travel Expected to Rise 1.9 Percent in Virginia This Year

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), Fourth of July travel is forecast for a 1.9 percent rise in Virginia.

AAA forecasts that an estimated 1.16 million Virginians will travel between Wednesday, July 2 and Sunday, July 6, with 87 percent traveling by road.

Nationwide, AAA predicts 41 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles, up 2 percent from 2013, with 85 percent traveling by car. AAA noted that July 4 falling on a Friday should increase travel because of the three-day weekend.

‘Safety Net’ Hospitals Brace for Uninsured Patients, Financial Losses

So-called “safety net” hospitals, such as the University of Virginia (UVA) Medical Center and the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Health System, are planning to see more uninsured patients moving forward and financial losses starting in 2016 as the potential for Medicaid expansion fades.

A major part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) involved expanding Medicaid eligibility, with the tradeoff of reducing payments to hospitals that treat the indigent and the uninsured. But the U.S. Supreme Court left it to the states to decide whether to expand Medicaid, and Virginia is one of 24 states debating or refusing expansion.

Unless a Medicaid expansion is enacted, the UVA and VCU health systems estimate that they could lose up to a combined $386 million in disproportionate share hospital payments — federal subsidies for hospitals that care for a disproportionate share of uninsured patients — between 2017 and 2022.

“Private hospitals may still see some indigent care [to fulfill their nonprofit mission], but more and more of those without public or private insurance will be triaged to teaching hospitals,” Carolyn Engelhard, assistant professor of health policy analysis at UVA’s School of Medicine, told The Daily Progress.

New Transportation Secretary Hopes to Halt 460 Expansion

New Virginia transportation secretary Aubrey Layne Jr. hopes to halt payments for improvements to the U.S. Route 460 Corridor Improvement Project, a 55-mile, $1.4 billion toll road that would stretch from Suffolk to Petersburg.

Previously, Layne was chairman of the Route 460 Funding Corp. of Virginia, a nonprofit corporation created by the state to finance the project. But in his new job, he hopes to stop payment on an average of $16.7 million in monthly payments to contractor U.S. Mobility 460 Partners LLC.

The project has run into environmental issues with the selected route, with a required environmental permit still not in place. U.S. Mobility 460 Partners filed a preliminary application for that permit in September 2013 that estimated that the new road would impact as many as 486 acres of wetlands, more than triple the previous estimate of 130 acres.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined that a supplemental review to an earlier environmental impact statement was necessary.

 “I told the governor, ‘We’ve got a real issue,’” Layne told Virginia Business. “Why would you be pushing out money for construction and money for mobilization until you knew you had a permit?”

Layne asked McAuliffe to stop payments to the contractor except for work associated with the supplemental review, and the governor agreed. On March 14, the state issued a stop work order.

No votes have been submitted yet.