Issues

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An Equitable Future

To create a more equitable future, we must address the systems that promote inequity, such as rising housing costs that outpace the growth in local wages, which are below the national average.

• Affordable Housing. We have an affordable housing crisis in the 57th District.

— Incentivize local governments and public universities and colleges as employers to provide employer assisted housing.

— Pass inclusionary zoning legislation so that localities like Charlottesville have the tools they need to require private developers to build affordable units on-site, automatically.

— Dedicate more state resources to affordable housing, from expanding the statewide Housing Trust Fund, Communities of Opportunity Tax Credit and Vibrant Community Initiative administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to instituting a statewide rental assistance voucher program, calibrated to fit regional housing markets.

— Expand affordable home ownership in partnership with the Virginia Housing Development Authority.

— Create a Virginia Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) charged specifically with increasing affordable rental and for-sale housing in Virginia, using the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency as a model.

• Education. Our public schools in the 57th District haven’t been adequately funded since 2007.

— Institute universal pre-K and pre-K after-school programs that level the playing field for all people in our community.

— Fully fund our public schools.

— Build on the work of former Governor McAuliffe’s Standards of Learning (SOL) Innovation Committee, to make the SOL (and Standards of Quality) more responsive to student needs in the 21st century and reflective of best teaching practices in the classroom.

— Change the state funding allocation formula, known as the “Local Composite Index” to take poverty within our school divisions into account.

— Equip school divisions with the tools and authority to build affordable housing for teachers on school or local government owned property.

• Small Business, Local Hiring and Living Wages. Institute programs that help small businesses and our labor force, especially in low wealth communities of color.

— Change state procurement laws to allow local governments to hire local contractors and subcontractors instead of only the lowest qualified bidder on all public building and infrastructure projects.

— Allow localities to set targets for hiring local, minority-owned businesses.

— Raise the state’s minimum wage to $15/hour and allow regional economies consisting of multiple jurisdictions to exceed the state’s minimum if warranted by their regional cost of living.

— Expand state-level support for workers seeking to upgrade their skills or change careers due to job closures, from tuition remission at community colleges to childcare and transportation assistance.

• Tax Reform. The heaviest burdens should not be placed on the most vulnerable, and we as a community must pay for the things we need.

— Pass “homestead exemption” and “tax circuit breaker” laws so as to empower local governments to make the real estate tax more progressive.

— Assess Virginia’s income tax and fee structure in terms of its progressivity and capacity to meet the growing needs of our Commonwealth by assigning that task to the Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC).

— Allow our district to establish and fund its own Regional Transit and Transportation Authority (if and as directed by the localities) to address the backlog of infrastructure needs that have not received Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) “Smart Scale” funding.