Virginia Small Businesses Request Tax Relief, Lower Regulations

With Virginia’s 2022 legislative session underway, a small business association is asking lawmakers to consider tax relief, lower regulation and other policies to help the commonwealth’s business community.

The National Federation of Independent Business announced its Small Business Recovery Plan, which includes four legislation principles they hope lawmakers consider during the session. The NFIB plan includes lower taxes, repealing some regulations, financial assistance and unemployment insurance reform, which the group believes will help businesses that are still struggling from their pandemic-era losses, a labor shortage and skyrocketing inflation rates.

“Virginia’s small businesses have had a rough couple of years, starting with the pandemic and continuing with the labor shortage and disruptions to the supply chain,” NFIB State Director Julia Hammond said in a statement. “Our ‘Small Business Recovery Plan’ is a set of legislative principles that outlines the issues of greatest concern to Virginia’s small businesses. Legislators should keep these principles in mind while crafting bills during this year’s session of the General Assembly.”

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Supreme Court’s Conservative Justices Seem Skeptical of Biden Admin’s Workplace COVID Vaccine Rules

The Supreme Court on Friday hearing oral arguments on two major Biden administration efforts to increase the country’s vaccination rate against COVID-19 — starting with the mandate requiring large-scale employers to require workers to be vaccinated or tested.

In the first case, the National Federation of Independent Business, et al., Applicants v. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, et al.

OSHA is more specifically requiring businesses with 100 or more workers either require them to be vaccinated or et tested weekly and wear masks while working, with exceptions for those who work outdoors.

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Biden Loses Legal Battle, COVID Confidence as Vaccine Mandate Stalls

President Joe Biden is struggling to win in court as well as the court of public opinion when it comes to his response to COVID-19.

Biden’s approval rating on his handling of the pandemic has steadily dropped as he has issued more vaccine mandates, with one of those mandates seemingly dead in the water.

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Trucking and Retail Associations Sue Biden Administration over Vaccine Mandates

Multiple trucking and retail groups filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the Biden Administration, seeking to block implementation of the federal vaccine mandate, as reported by Breitbart.

The lawsuit, filed with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, is led by multiple organizations, including “the National Retail Federation, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the American Trucking Associations.” The suit specifically targets the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the primary federal agency that has been tasked by Biden to carry out the many sweeping vaccine mandates.

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Fully-Vaccinated Virginians No Longer Need Masks in Most Settings

Fully-vaccinated Virginians no longer need to wear masks in most places, including indoors. On Friday, Governor Ralph Northam updated his mask mandate, effective Saturday, to align with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance released Thursday.

“Virginians have been working hard, and we are seeing the results in our strong vaccine numbers and dramatically lowered case counts,” Northam said in his announcement.

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Virginia’s Minimum Wage Increases to $9.25 an Hour on Saturday

Virginia’s minimum wage is going up to $9.25 an hour on May 1. The change is the result of 2020 legislation, part of several pro-worker changes initiated by the Democrat-controlled General Assembly in 2020 and 2021. Advocates say the change will boost the economy by enabling more people to pay rent and spend money in Virginia businesses. But opponents say the increase violates free-market principles and will harm employers who have to increase their hourly compensation while dealing with a COVID-19 economy.

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Northam Administration Moves to Tax PPP Loan Recipients

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s administration has recommended to the General Assembly that the state not conform its tax code to specific provisions included in the recently-signed federal emergency relief bill that gives businesses who received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans a significant tax benefit.

Under the provisions of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), signed into law by President Donald Trump in late December, businesses in the Commonwealth that got forgivable PPP loans would not be taxed on that income and could deduct their business expenses covered by the federal payment.

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Issue of Paid Sick Leave Returning to Virginia General Assembly in 2021

The debate over whether or not businesses should be required to provide eligible employees with paid sick leave will again be taken up by the Virginia General Assembly when it convenes for its regular session on January 13th.

After multiple bills calling for paid sick leave were killed by a Senate committee during this past summer’s special session, those same lawmakers are once again intending to offer legislation on the issue.

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Blackburn, Bredesen Reveal Stark Differences on Judges, Obamacare at NFIB Forum

Phil Bredesen, Marsha Blackburn

NASHVILLE, Tennessee–Tennessee U.S. Senate Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) said, if elected, she’ll vote to appoint federal judges based on whether they abide by what’s in the U.S. Constitution. Her opponent, Democrat Phil Bredesen, said voting to appoint a judge really boils down to his or her qualifications and temperament.…

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Tennessee Adds 45,000 Jobs Over Past Year

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Tennessee’s unemployment rates remain low and the state added 45,000 jobs the past year, the National Federation of Independent Business said. According to the March 2018 numbers from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, 82 of the state’s 95 counties saw lower unemployment rates that month than they…

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