Northern Virginia businesses are calling on state lawmakers to expand Medicaid and adopt policies that bolster the commonwealth’s future workforce.
The Northern Virginia Chamber Partnership, a collaboration among the Dulles Regional, Greater Reston and Loudoun County chambers of commerce, released its 2016 legislative priorities this week. It asks the General Assembly to ensure Virginia sustains a competitive kindergarten-12 education system to meet the workforce needs of the future. Also, with an eye on workforce development, it urges lawmakers to invest in conventional four-year degree programs, as well as specialized programs to allow people to earn highly technical credentials in science, technology, engineering, math and health fields.
The list of priorities also includes a call for the General Assembly to expand Medicaid in a way that is “efficient, effective and expeditious.” Last year’s General Assembly session featured a standoff over expanding the program in accordance with the federal Affordable Care Act. Democrats have called it a win-win because the federal government has said it would cover covers 100 percent of the funding for Medicaid expansion through 2016. Most Republicans have rejected the idea because of concerns that the federal dollars will be run out and Virginia will be left to pick up the payments.
The Northern Virginia Chamber Partnership’s legislative agenda also includes: a request for efficient spending of transportation dollars to relieve congestion throughout Northern Virginia; reform of Virginia’s tax and revenue system to more closely align the source of tax revenues with the spending priorities of state and local government; and increased investment in research and development.
See the chambers’ full list of legislative priorities at loudounchamber.org/Public-Policy.