Posted on Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Legislation Will Help Educational Foundations With Bond Market Access

SB 313 (Petersen) and HB 1012 (Massie) will allow foundations of public institutions of higher education in Virginia to use the Virginia College Building Authority as a conduit issuer to access the tax-exempt bond market for financing foundation-sponsored capital projects. Currently, foundations of public higher educational institutions  are not legally able to use VCBA for financing. This bill provides foundations another option for issuing tax-exempt debt that may allow for a decrease in the cost of issuing bonds. It is envisioned that this legislation will be particularly helpful to institutions which operate real estate foundations. Both bills are scheduled for second reading in the Senate and House tomorrow.

“Go Virginia” Legislation Promotes Regional Cooperation; Moves Ahead

Bills that are the priority of the Virginia Business Higher Education Council and the Council on Virginia’s Future to stimulate regional cooperation and economic growth have passed both chambers of the General Assembly and are rapidly moving ahead.

SB 449  (Norment) and HB 834 (Cox) both establish the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board to administer grants for regional economic and workforce development projects.  Business-led regional councils are also established under these bills; these councils will be certified by the Board, distributed along geographic boundaries throughout the Commonwealth, and are comprised of  representatives of government and the business and education communities.    SB 449 ‘s language gives initial priority to any grant proposals that promote workforce development and other activities that focus on eliminating skills gaps identified in a region’s economic growth and diversification plan.  The Board established in SB 449  has 22 total members:  8 legislative members, 11 nonlegislative citizen members, and 3 ex officio members.  The Board established in HB 834 has 21 total members:  7 legislative members, 11 nonlegislative citizen members, and 3 ex officio members.

SB 459 (Ruff) and HB 846 (Hugo) establish Growth and Opportunity “GO!” start-up grants for projects that boost private-sector growth and reflect collaboration among business, education, and at least two local governments.   SB 459  contains a more enhanced role for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership in approval and administration of the funds than does HB 846.  The Governor’s introduced budget contains $38.4 million for the GO! Grants.   

NCI Merger Bill To Be Studied by Joint Subcommittee

HB 1384 (Marshall) would have allowed the New College Institute in Martinsville to enter into an agreement with any other public institution of higher education to delegate or assign some of the duties of NCI to the public institution or merge with the public institution.  The bill was tabled on February 9, and will be referred to the Joint Subcommittee Studying the Future Competitiveness of Higher Education.'

Ellen Davenport

Ellen Davenport is assistant vice chancellor for governmental relations for the VCCS. She works with the Chancellor and Virginia's 23 community college presidents to advance the financial and policy priorities of the VCCS with the Virginia General Assembly and Congress.

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