Visit Charles Poindexter on:

General Assembly Building, Room 807
PO Box 406, Richmond VA 23219
Phone: 804-698-1009
Fax: 804-698-6709
Viewpoint Hotline: 800-889-0229

PO Box 117, Glade Hill VA 24092
Phone: 540-576-2600
Fax: 804-698-6709

PO Box 117, Glade Hill VA 24092
Phone: 540-489-8989

Counties, Cities, and Towns
Agriculture, Chesapeake
  & Natural Resources

Southwest Virginia
    Cultural Heritage Foundation
Roanoke River Basin
    Advisory Committee
Roanoke River Basin Bi-State
    (VA/NC) Commission
Roanoke Higher Education Authority,
    Board of Trustees
Western Virginia Public Education
Virginia Early Childhood Foundation

National Rifle Association - Endorsed with an A rating
National Federation of Independent Businesses
Virginia Society for Human Life
Rated 100% by The Family Foundation

2014 End of Session Letter

Dear Friend,

As it is my custom at the end of each General Assembly session, I am sending this to inform you of the highlights of my activities as your Delegate, as well as key legislative actions taken by the General Assembly. We started on January 8, and adjourned as scheduled on March 8. With the exception of a handful of bills the House and Senate failed to agree upon, many hundreds of bills were passed and sent to the Governor for his signing, amending, and veto by April 23, when we reconvene to consider his proposals for changes.

There is one major glaring exception - the budget bill, which I consider the most important bill we handle, as it funds state government and almost half of the state expenditures flow to local governments, schools, police, etc. The differences in the House and Senate budgets are remarkably close - less than one-tenth of 1% - and could be resolved and passed in a day or so. Governor McAuliffe, however, has insisted he will not agree to a budget that does not contain Obamacare expansion, and the Senate Democrats have gone along with this, effectively holding the budget - and funding to local governments, teachers, schools, and law enforcement - hostage in a Washington, D.C.-style political game. Republicans have offered a reasonable and responsible solution: Pass a clean budget and take up the Obamacare issue as a separate legislative matter. If Obamacare expansion is such a good proposal, let it stand on its own to be debated and voted on, rather than forcing it on Virginia just so teachers can get their paychecks and local governments receive funding.

I serve on the House Appropriations Committee, where I chair the subcommittee on Compensation & Retirement and work with other legislators to craft and balance the state budget. This subcommittee addresses all legislation and budget amendments that impact state and state-supported local employee salaries, retirements, and benefits. In addition to the Compensation & Retirement subcommittee, I serve on the General Government & Capital Outlay subcommittee and the Public Safety subcommittee.

I also serve as vice chair of the Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Committee, where we address issues concerning agriculture, forestry, natural resources, environment, and historical resources. My third and final committee assignment is the Counties, Cities, and Towns Committee, where I chair one of the two subcommittees. This committee has cognizance over the relationships between the state and local governments.

Last fall, I was asked to serve on the Medicaid Innovation & Reform Commission (MIRC). This commission, consisting of 10 bipartisan legislators from the House and Senate, was agreed to by the Governor, Senate, and House last session to identify and implement reforms to the current inefficient and ineffective Medicaid program prior to determining whether Virginia should implement the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA)/Obamacare expansion of Medicaid. This is a major decision with drastic and mostly unforeseen fiscal consequences for the Commonwealth. The General Assembly agreed this issue deserved thorough review and should be separate from the budget process via the MIRC process, so critical state funding to schools, localities, public safety, etc. would not be impacted by a budget stalemate, which, unfortunately, is exactly what we're experiencing now under Governor McAuliffe.

The MIRC has worked diligently to address necessary reforms to the current Medicaid program and research the flexibility, cost, and quality care components in various hypothetical expansion scenarios. What we've found is troubling. Only 25 states have decided to expand Medicaid, and in those states ER visits remain high, doctors are refusing to accept new Medicaid patients due to low reimbursement rates, and the federal government will not grant permanent flexibility waivers to the state to make cost and quality of care reforms to the program. On the campaign trail in 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama remarked, "As we move forward on health care reform, it is not sufficient for us simply to add more people to Medicare or Medicaid to increase coverage in the absence of cost controls and reform...another way of putting it is we can't simply put more people into a broken system that doesn't work." Yet, this is exactly what Governor McAuliffe and House and Senate Democrats are asking us to do. This is poor policy balanced on the backs of Virginia taxpayers.

Moreover, the ACA/Obamacare - of which Medicaid Expansion is a major component - is not working. The enrollment website is sub-par at best; the promise that citizens could keep their insurance and doctors was a lie; waivers have been extended to certain groups and not to others; premiums have increased substantially; and, we're seeing especially high deductibles. President Obama has demonstrated he will unilaterally make changes to the law on a whim without congressional approval, such as the recent delay of the employer mandate until after the November 2014 elections.

Currently, 22% of Virginia's entire budget is devoted to Medicaid, and that number is steadily growing each year. At a national level, it is estimated 30% of the program is lost to fraud, waste, and abuse. In 2012, then-Attorney General Cuccinelli recovered $200 million in Medicaid fraud through a detection program that has since served as the national model for Medicaid fraud investigation. Every dollar of that 22% of the state budget that is wasted or abused is a dollar that is lost to K-12 and higher education, local governments, our law enforcement officers, and other health and human services. Therefore, I find it very irresponsible to not first reform the current program, focusing on cost-savings and health outcomes measures, and then evaluate whether it should be expanded.

Another issue driving this debate is the ACA/Obamacare cuts in Medicare that will have a significant negative impact on hospitals and healthcare providers. One way the ACA is funded is through $700B in Medicare cuts, and just recently the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) accelerated these cuts to Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans. Since Medicare is a large revenue source for hospitals (close to 50% in our region), many hospital administrations are pushing Virginia legislators to accept the ACA/Obamacare expansion of Medicaid so federal dollars will flow in and offset the Medicare cuts. I do not accept the argument that Virginia must expand an already ballooning government program at serious financial risk to taxpayers to fix a FEDERAL problem President Obama and Senator Warner created with the Affordable Care Act.

We faced many tough choices while crafting the budget this year, but I am pleased to report the House budget is again one that is fiscally responsible, structurally balanced, and invests in the core services most important to Virginians. Since 2007, we have reduced general fund spending by nearly $7B to reflect the recession and have held the general fund spending growth rate since then to less than 1%. We have also estimated revenue conservatively and had several surpluses, which we invested into core one-time-spending-only areas instead of new or expanded programs.

The House budget contains $243M for the Rainy Day Fund to replenish it, as we drew it down during the recession. We also included in the budget an additional $137M reserve fund to offset further potential economic slowdown, as our revenue estimates recently declined. The House budget appropriates a $531M increase for K-12 education (25% of all available new revenue), increased funding for higher education - including more seats for Virginia students, and about 40% of our new revenue has to be spent on the growth in the current Medicaid program.

The $137M reserve I mentioned earlier is set aside for compensation and VRS purposes. So, if our revenue meets the estimates, there will be 2% raises for a) targeted state and state-supported local employees in lower paid, high turnover positions, effective 1January 2015, and a 2% bonus 1July 2015 for those not receiving the raise. The remainder of the reserve, $76.3M will go to VRS to fully fund the VRS Board recommended rates for all state and state-supported local employees by FY2016, three years earlier than scheduled. I was pleased that my Compensation & Retirement Subcommittee's budget recommendations for our hard-working employees were accepted by the Appropriations Committee and the full House when the budget was voted on.

As I mentioned above, when the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare was passed, it cut Medicare spending significantly, so hospitals, nursing homes and other providers are receiving less money for treatment of Medicare patients. The General Assembly/Virginia cannot control federal Medicare policies or fiscal actions, but we can control the funding we are responsible for, as our share for the current Medicaid program is roughly a 50/50 split between the federal government and Virginia. Thus, the House budget contains an inflation adjustment of 2.5% for both FY2015 and FY2016 so that the hospitals and nursing homes will receive $192M in additional funding. We also increased funding for Free Clinics and Community Health Centers to help these sectors of the Virginia healthcare safety net. Other increases included additional funding ($48M) for Community based mental health services, plus an additional 50 ID and 15 DD Waiver slots.

While I've spent the majority of my time working on the budget, several pieces of legislation I introduced were passed by the General Assembly this session and I served as co-patron to a number of excellent bills carried by my colleagues. My HB672, extending grant opportunities statewide to expanding or new businesses that import/export goods through the Port of Virginia passed the House and Senate with broad, bipartisan support. This is an especially important bill for economic development along the Route 58 corridor on out to Southwest Virginia and beyond.

My House bills, HB673 and HB697, dealing with stormwater regulations and permit fees were rolled into HB1173 and the Senate amendments agreed to by the House. This bill will result in very significant stormwater fee reductions to rural Virginians when they build a new house and disturb greater than one acre of land - which is common, as we have to have space for septic, well, longer driveways, etc. The numbers aren't final yet, but I expect the fee to be reduced from around $2800 to around $300.

I was disappointed my HB677 failed to get out of subcommittee. The bill would have required each school division to hold an annual meeting with the local business community for discussion of skills needed in, and the readiness of graduates for, the local workforce. This is a common sense proposal. Everyone agreed it was a good idea. Nobody argued there would be a fiscal impact. Yet, the School Board Association and others opposed it because it is a mandate.

Another proposal I put forward was budget-related and would address instances where a federal government shutdown has a direct negative impact on private businesses, such as the debacle we saw unfold on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Patrick County last fall. Tourism is one of our region's biggest economic drivers and, in some areas, our tourism attractions are closely tied to federal parks, property, roads, or other services. I introduced budget language to expand the conditions under which the existing Federal Action Contingency Trust (FACT) Fund may be accessed to include private businesses operating on federal land if they were impacted by a federal shutdown. Ultimately, this proposal was not included in the final budget, but I'm hopeful it at least served to underscore the severity of our federal government's continued uncertainty and dysfunction and the impact that has on businesses and economic development.

This session I worked with other Delegates on legislation covering a wide range of topics. One such bill, HB324, establishes the Board of the Virginia Virtual School to create and govern online educational programs and seminars to students enrolled in the Virginia Virtual School. Students enrolling will, like public schools' K-12, have no tuition; multiple providers available from which parents can select; special education services offered; and, the school is required to meet all SOQ and accreditation requirements as well as compulsory attendance. State SOQ funds will "follow the child" and up to 76% of a student's local SOQ will also "follow the child."

Other bills I co-patroned include: HB307, after-school hunter safety education programs; HB706, provides a member of the General Assembly has standing to defend the laws or constitution of the Commonwealth in the event the Governor and Attorney General fail to do so; HB714, eliminates the renewal fee for someone already issued a concealed handgun permit; HB930, Standards of Learning (SOL) reform; HB1099, removes the limit of "three events" groups such as VFW, fire, rescue, and other non-profits can hold each year before having to charge meals, food and beverage taxes; HB1193, required the Governor attempt to ensure membership to the State Water Control Board is geographically balanced; HJ8, provides that the General Assembly may provide a real property tax exemption for the primary residence of surviving spouses of members of the military who are killed in action; and HJ38, creates a joint subcommittee to conduct a two-year study to promote the construction of I-73 in Virginia.

As always, I am honored to walk the historic halls of the Virginia Capitol fully aware you have placed in me your confidence, faith, and support. I would be pleased to discuss with you or your group any issues from this session or provide assistance with any state government matters you may have. You can contact me at 540-576-2600 or or P.O. Box 117, Glade Hill VA 24092.


Delegate Charles D. Poindexter
9th District, Virginia House of Delegates


“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
  Authorized and Paid for by Friends of Charles Poindexter  
  Website by: