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State Capitol Report   January 10-14, 2011

The Poindexter Report
By 9th District Delegate Charles Poindexter

I returned to Richmond on January 10 to complete preparations for the January 12 start of the 2011 General Assembly Session. As always, the first week’s activities mostly consist of bill preparation, passage of House procedures/rules, attending Governor McDonnell’s  annual State of the Commonwealth speech to the Joint House and Senate, attending meetings and receptions, and welcoming new staff members, delegates and senators.

2011 is the General Assembly’s  ‘short’ Session year, meaning the main goal is to adjust and update the budget for the second year, in this instance Fiscal Year 2012 of the biennium.  This 45-day Session has expanded over time to include business on almost every topic, so we will probably have over 2000 bills to consider. We will accomplish this through our 14 committees reporting the best bills to the floor for debate and approval or rejection.

I was most honored to be appointed to the House Appropriations Committee in 2010 and will continue that work in 2011. This Committee prepares the state budget. I serve on four of its nine subcommittees, including Economic Development & Agriculture and Natural Resources, Elementary and Secondary Education, Compensation and Retirement, and Technology Oversight and Government Activities.  I will also continue to serve on the Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources  Committee and the Cities and Towns Committee.

New legislators  came aboard on the Opening Day of Session, including our newly elected 19th District Senator Bill Stanley, 8th House District Delegate Greg Habeeb, and Chesterfield’s  27th District Delegate Roxann Robinson, who occupies the office next to mine on the 8th floor of the General Assembly building. I congratulate them all and am already working with them on legislation.

On a somber note, I learned of the passing of former  Delegate Willard Finney. A Franklin County native and lifelong resident, Delegate Finney held this 9th District House of Delegates seat for 11 years, as did his father and grandfather serve before him. I was honored to celebrate his life, his statesmanship, and his devoted public service to our Commonwealth of Virginia on the House Floor during Opening Day of Session. At my request, we adjourned that day’s session in his honor and memory.

In this economic climate, the budget and spending is the topic on everyone’s mind. Speaker Howell announced the House would reduce our operating budget another $275,000 (5%) on top of the  previous $775,000 reduction. Like our citizens, local governments, state agencies and others coping with a distressed economy, the House must operate as frugally and efficiently  as possible.  Even before further reducing our operating costs, we are gratified to know that Virginia is ranked 46th per-capita in legislative spending.

I anticipate the major thrusts of issues this session to be the budget, jobs and economic development, government reform, higher education reform, property rights, and transportation funding. Economic indicators continue lackluster performance, especially revenue from withholding and estimated taxes, which together are almost 2/3 of our discretionary spending revenue. So, I expect the changes to the FY12 budget will be relatively minor in terms of the overall budget, yet will be hotly debated since both reductions and increases in different areas—such as jobs and economic development—are on the table.

I have grave concerns past FY12, especially as the EPA’s demand to—supposedly—clean up the Chesapeake Bay is estimated  at 7-8 billion and the new federal Health Care Bill’s costs appear to be another 1-2 billion during the next few years. As our annual discretionary spending is around 16 billion, a train wreck is coming. My focus will be to achieve a fair balance in spending among core services and do all I can to increase jobs and improve our economy.

The economy may be dismal but I am cheered by the many visitors who came by the office this past week. Among them were Larry Heaton, Leon Moore, Lavada Robertson, Amy Trail, Doris Boitnott, Smith Mountain Lake Republican Women’s Club President Nancy King and several of the club’s members, and my wife, Janet Poindexter, representing the Franklin County Republican Women’s Club. I enjoyed all the women’s excellent company during  the VFRW’s Legislative Day luncheon.

Intern Chelsea Moody and Secretary-Receptionist Janet Cousins have joined my full-time Legislative Aide Lindsay Bowman as staff in my Richmond office. Please note that our local District Office in Glade Hill is closed while my staff works in the Richmond office through February 26. You may contact me in Richmond at (804)698-1009 or  or by regular mail at P.O. Box 406, Richmond VA 23218.


“Entrepreneurs and their small business enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States".
Ronald Reagan
Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library
“Whatever else history says about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty’s lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way".
Ronald Reagan
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