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Top 5 things you need to know today…
- Rep. Elaine Luria fights to reverse tax hike on Gold Star families — The 2017 Republican corporate tax cut helped plenty of companies avoid paying any taxes last year, and it also managed to increase taxes on Gold Star families. Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Virginia) is trying to change that by introducing the “Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act,” a bill that aims to treat survivor benefits provided by the Defense Department as earned income for the children of deceased military officials. The current tax system lists these benefits as “unearned income,” which makes it eligible for higher tax rates.
- Dominion customers to receive credits in June — If you’re a Dominion customer, you can expect to see a one-time credit on your June utility bill. The average household will see a credit of $33.27 as a result of changes to the federal corporate income tax. The State Corporation Commission ordered companies like Dominion to pass down savings from the tax cut to ratepayers. And don’t forget that Dominion paid $0 in federal income tax and are trying to charge customers for $247 million in upgrades, and just yesterday came under fire for its lack of transparency over.
- Virginia GOP embraces spin ahead of elections — Faced with the possibility of losing control of both the state Senate and House of Delegates this fall, some Virginia Republicans, including Del. Todd Pillion (R-Washington County) are resorting to fear tactics: telling their constituents that Democratic control of the General Assembly would turn Virginia into California or New York. Pillion has also embraced his party’s anti-abortion attacks, which may not fare well in a state that is overwhelmingly pro-choice.
- Virginia Beach tries to tackle sea level rise — Virginia Beach is among the most vulnerable communities in the state when it comes to the consequences of sea level rise, prompting the city to conduct a study on how to prepare. The study found that possible options to protect the city would include high-tech flood gates, expanded seawalls and levee systems. The six current citywide infrastructure plans to combat future flooding would cost Virginia Beach anywhere from $1.13 billion to nearly $3 billion and protect 28,000 to 45,000 homes, but the city is still months away from deciding on a plan.
- 10 overdoses and 3 deaths in 48 hours in Chesterfield — As the opioid epidemic continues to ravage Virginia, Chesterfield County experienced a particularly horrifying weekend, with ten drug overdoses occurring within 48 hours. Three victims died, making it the deadliest weekend span since five people fatally overdosed in September. Police believe the majority of the overdoses were caused by opioids and are investigating whether they are connected.