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2010 State Legislative Action Plan

The following Virginia Legislative Priorities were approved by the Executive Council during the July Meeting:

State Tuition Assistance Program: Tuition assistance grant up to $2000 / semester for eligible VA Guard members enrolled at any state, private, accredited or non-profit institution of higher learning in Virginia.

o Problem: Additional funding is needed for the State Tuition Assistance Program to meet increasing demand. (bad economy, rising cost of college education)

o Objective: Request additional funding through budget or legislative actions.

  • Direct benefit for over 1100 Guardsmen that use the program.
  • Important recruiting and retention tool.
  • Priority for The Adjutant General.
  • o Strategy:

  • Let DMA talk about specific $ amount, we just emphasis importance of program
  • Tie to education, workforce improvement and economic development.
  • Partner with colleges and universities: money is spent at their institutions.
  • Partner with businesses: they get a better educated worker.
  • Economic development: money is spent at in state institutions, better educated worker makes more money, spends more money, pays more taxes.
  • Tax-free Virginia Military Family Relief Fund (MFRF): Financial assistance for military families having financial difficulty because of deployment

    o Problem: Funds provided through the MFRF are taxed at the state rate of 5.75%. Taxing the benefits paid creates additional burdens on the military members and their families.

    o Objective: Amend the statue to exclude MFRF benefits from taxable income.

  • Helps those who need it most.
  • MOAA asking for our support.
  • Supported by the Joint Leadership Council.
  • o Strategy:

  • Small impact on state tax revenue. (would have been $4,095 in 2008)
  • Good cause, makes sense, should be easy target.
  • We have support of other powerful organizations.
  • State Funding for Amory Maintenance and Repair: DMA maintains 46 armories, most are over 40 years old and require more maintenance and repair because of inadequate funding in the past. Increasing utility costs come out of the same budget.

    o Problem: Inadequate and poorly maintained training facilities have a direct, negative impact on the Guard's capabilities and performance of their state mission during natural disasters and civil disturbances, and for homeland defense issues.

    o Objective: Request more funding for armory maintenance and repair.

  • Virginia is losing Federal matching funds by not contributing its share.
  • o Strategy:

  • Let DMA talk about specific $ amount, we just emphasis importance
  • Armories are aging faster than we are replacing them.
  • Money spent now saves more expensive repairs in the future.
  • Tie to economic development: jobs for work done in state are 75% Federal funded
  • Commonwealth ChalleNGe Funding: Commonwealth ChalleNGe is a 17-month co-educational program for at-risk teens ages 16 to 19. It has over 3000 graduates since 1994 with 100% placement (60% entering workforce, 20% entering military service and 20% continuing their education).

    o Problem: State funding is at risk because of required DMA budget cuts.

    o Objective: Maintain funding for a very successful program.

  • Very successful program targeting at risk youth.
  • 2010 NDAA approved in conference increases Federal funding from 60% to 75%
  • o Strategy:

  • Long term payoff is huge: productive, taxpaying citizen
  • Who would oppose helping at risk youth?
  • Federal support should increase, lowering the cost to the state.
  • Cost per cadet is $15,000. On a per capita basis, the cost of Commonwealth Challenge is:
  • o 85% less than high school
    o 320 percent less than job corps
    o 433 percent less than juvenile corrections
    o 600 percent less than adult corrections
    o 660 percent less than private military-style programs

    Consolidate the VA ARNG, ANG and Joint Staff in a new HQ building at Sandston

    o Problem: Army, Air and Joint staff are currently spread over many locations in outdated facilities; impacting C2 and the ability to coordinate with other agencies located primarily in Richmond.

    o Objective: Support The Adjutant General's plan to consolidate the DMA staff in Sandston.

  • THE priority for The Adjutant General
  • Currently on FY 13 FYDP
  • Opposed by Congressman Forbes (his district includes Ft Pickett): "MILCON budget would be better applied to higher priority projects."
  • Blocked by House Armed Services Committee (Forbes is ranking member).
  • Originally supported by Gov Kaine.
  • o Strategy:

  • This should be a command decision, not a political decision
  • Allow the next Governor and TAG to decide
  • Keep the GA from blocking move with legislative action.
  • Construction is Federally funded, no State funds involved