Legislative Policy Positions
The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber) prepares its legislative priorities for elected officials representing the communities of the Greater Springfield area including Fairfax County’s Braddock, Lee, Mason, Mount Vernon and Springfield Magisterial Districts; Virginia House Districts 39, 40, 41, 42 and 43; Virginia Senate Districts 34, 35, 36, 37 and 39; U.S. House of Representatives Districts 8, 10 and 11; and Virginia’s U.S. Senators.
The Chamber represents and advocates for businesses of all sizes and categories across the Greater Springfield area to include: Burke, Fairfax Station, Franconia, Kingstowne, Laurel Hill, Lorton Station, Newington and Springfield, Virginia.
The Chamber’s policy positions are developed through its legislative committee, refined by the executive committee, and finally modified and adopted by majority vote of the board of directors.
Fairfax County Permitting Process: The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce urges Fairfax County to continue efforts to shorten the length of time required to obtain permits and streamline the overall administrative process. Studies have shown that communities with a more efficient building permitting process can gain millions of dollars in tax revenues and significantly bolster their economic development. Inefficient and lengthy permitting processes are equivalent to a drain on economic development, leading to higher costs that either will be passed through to occupants or will discourage new construction.
Federal Regulations: The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce opposes the unrestrained expansion of federal regulations that oppress businesses of all sizes and across all industries. These regulations fall hardest on small business, which lack the economy of scale to manage the costs and functions of compliance. The Chamber calls on its elected officials to mitigate unnecessary regulations, streamline those slowing the growth of the private sector, and to only impose new regulations that achieve a specific need or goal for the community without imposing an undue burden on business.
Health Care: The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce recognizes the importance of the health care industry to the economy and the community. The Chamber supports legislation that ensures access to affordable and stable group health insurance for all businesses, including sole proprietors and businesses with few employees. The Chamber supports maximum flexibility to encourage business to provide the best health insurance options for employees in the free market system.
Intellectual Property: The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce supports strong intellectual property (IP) protections. The Chamber believes IP plays an essential role in our economy. Inventors, researchers, engineers, artists and entrepreneurs should be assured their work will be protected and rewarded through strong IP rights including patents, trademarks and copyrights. IP protections also guard consumers against dangerous fakes and counterfeit goods.
Minimum Wage: The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce opposes a mandated increase in the minimum wage. Employers should base pay on market demand.
Public-Private Partnerships: The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce urges Fairfax County to expand use of public-private partnerships (PPP). These beneficial collaborations give public agencies access to the expertise and resources in the private sector, and allow private sector entities to make contributions of money and manpower to the communities in which they prosper. PPPs improve service delivery and cost-effectiveness, increase investment in public infrastructure, reduce public sector risk, deliver capital projects faster, improve budget certainty and make better use of assets.
Taxation: The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce supports a rational balance of the tax burden in Virginia among businesses, residents and users of services. In general, the Chamber opposes a single industry tax.
The Chamber strongly urges that additional savings and economies of scale be sought and adopted before our local, state or federal governments consider any increase in current taxes or implementing new taxes and urges elected official to make the difficult decisions necessary to avoid tax increases in the budget cycle.
The Chamber encourages studies of comparative tax rates for Fairfax County and Virginia, and surrounding jurisdictions, to discover specific tax rates and impact fees that put the county and state at competitive disadvantages in attracting and retaining certain segments of the business community.
Tort and Civil Justice Reform: The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce supports maintaining Virginia's common sense legal system, which has enabled the Commonwealth to achieve its best-in-class economic environment. The Chamber opposes measures that would increase the burden of excessive litigation and diminish Virginia’s competitive position.
The Chamber supports pro-business tort and civil justice reform. While not limited to health care reform, we believe tort reform is an integral part of the reduction of health care costs.
The Chamber supports legislation that allows a party to a civil action to use depositions in support of a motion for summary judgment and motions to strike. The Chamber supports legislation that makes it easier for the court system to clear the docket of cases where the preponderance of evidence clearly and decisively favors one party and to do so in a manner that would prevent unnecessary trial expenses.
Virginia is one of the few states in the country that allows cases to be filed wherever a defendant regularly conducts business. The Chamber believes this statute needs to be changed to keep cases in more appropriate venues and avoid costly forum shopping.
Transportation: The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce believes a long-term, sustainable funding source for transportation is critical for the continued economic vitality of Northern Virginia and for an enhanced quality of life for our citizens.
The Chamber supports the use of public funds and private partnerships to build and maintain our roads, rails and public transportation system. We encourage local, state and federal officials to seek “outside the box” funding sources for transportation funding.
To complement existing travel lanes, we support the addition of high-occupancy toll lanes on the Washington Beltway and on I-95/I-395 through the use of public-private partnerships. The Express Lanes on the Beltway add capacity and provide for expanded modes of transportation, including buses and carpooling. Express Lanes on I-95/I-395 enhance existing modes of transportation, provide new infrastructure and deliver congestion relief with no new taxes or shifting of resources from other priorities.
We believe funding for Metro should come from a combination of Federal funds and funds from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. A variety of funding sources, including user fees, should be considered in paying for Virginia’s contribution to Metro. A dedicated funding source for Virginia’s obligation to Metro would produce measurable and sustainable improvements in Metro performance.
Unemployment Compensation: The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce opposes legislation that would expand unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, and would provide exceptions, such as the “trailing spouse” provision, because expanding UI benefits would come at the long-term cost detriment of Virginia’s employers. We oppose all UI legislation that increases the long-term burden on small business employers, our Nation’s job creators.
Unfunded Mandates and Policies: The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce supports transparency and the disclosure of the cost to businesses of all mandates imposed by local, state and federal governments so that businesses may understand the costs and benefits. The Chamber opposes the imposition of unfunded mandates or policy positions, particularly those that would require businesses to fund the long-term costs of these mandates.
Unionization and Right to Work Laws: The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce opposes any local, state or federal laws or regulations that undermine Virginia’s Right to Work laws, which have played a historically significant role in the Commonwealth’s nationally recognized economic and employment growth.