The Government Affairs Committee meets at least quarterly.
Government Affairs Committee Chair – Anthony Amos
The Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber) sets its legislative priorities for elected officials within NOVA and the Commonwealth of Virginia as representative of the goals for the City of Fairfax and its surrounding communities.
Dedicated to our goal of developing “business friendly environments” and supporting our communities, the Chamber represents and advocates for businesses of all sizes and categories within the City of Fairfax and local communities.
The Chamber’s legislative policies are developed through its Government Affairs committee, which is adopted and modified by the majority vote of the board of directors.
Our Policy Positions:
Equity & Inclusion
Northern Virginia is a very diverse community, and we embrace that diversity. It’s what makes us unique. The Chamber does not condone any discrimination and we encourage and promote equity for all – no matter a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, physical or intellectual ability. The American Dream is achieved every day as a result of the success of small businesses. We are here, in lockstep, with all of our communities to help ensure that success.
Further, we believe that people with physical, intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) can be and should be employed in the community alongside people without disabilities and earn competitive wages.
The Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce opposes the rapid increases of federal regulations that oppress business autonomy and function, especially the impacts seen frequenting small businesses. Due to this, the Chamber pushes for legislators to mitigate unnecessary regulations and examine the impact of future policies based on their negative effects on the business community, considering the private sector and the resources of small businesses.
The Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce recognizes the importance of the healthcare industry to the economy and for the community. The Chamber supports legislation that increases accessibility to proper healthcare that is affordable for businesses and their employees, including sole proprietors and businesses with few employees. The Chamber supports the improvement of ongoing practices and new legislation that will provide maximum flexibility and opportunity for all businesses to provide efficient healthcare.
The Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce supports strong intellectual property (IP) protections and rights due to its necessity within the free market economy. Inventors, researchers, engineers, artists and entrepreneurs should have the assurance of patents, trademarks and copyrights to both reward their work and to prevent the growth of counterfeit or fake goods.
The Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce opposes a mandated increase in the minimum wage. This should be determined by market demand and the ongoing climate of the industry. Many businesses, especially small businesses, would be severely impacted by this increase if precautions are not taken and if greater independent research is not considered.
The Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, to ensure we properly represent the diverse views of both the business and local community, does not align with any particular political party.
The Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce urges the continuation of efforts to shorten the lengths of time required to obtain permits and streamline the overall permitting process. Conclusive evidence has shown that the relationship between more efficient building permit processing and economic development is strongly correlated, gaining millions in tax revenues and encouraging greater construction/ occupancy.
The Chamber opposes legislation that aims to defund the police departments and obstruct the protection of the community. Safer communities impact the thriving of businesses and law enforcement is crucial to the preservation of these principles.
The Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce advocates for the expansion of public-private partnerships (PPPs), allowing public agencies to have access to resources and networks within the private sector. PPPs improve upon service delivery and cost-effectiveness, increasing investment in public infrastructure, reducing public sector risk, delivering capital jobs faster, improving budget certainty and making better use of assets.
The Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce recognizes the significance employment plays in the reintegration process for the formerly incarcerated. Specifically, research has shown that employment reduces the likelihood of recidivism dramatically and is crucial to successful reintegration into the community. We support legislation that provides opportunity for the formerly incarcerated to have greater access to employment opportunities without prejudice and the capability of being a business owner. This would also include providing greater incentives for businesses to directly engage with reintegration programs to promote these ideas.
The Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce supports the goals intended for improved environmental practices, supporting the transitions of businesses towards green certification and sustainable business models. Research has shown this to assist in developing better investment opportunities, increased competitive advantage and productivity, and improving the overall quality of life alongside the quality of the work environment. However, the Chamber calls on legislators to set realistic expectations for the transition process and to support businesses in pushing towards this goal without detriment.
The Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce opposes a single industry tax and, instead, supports a balance of the tax burden among businesses, residents and users of service. The Chambers recommends further research on comparative tax rates between the City of Fairfax and surrounding jurisdictions to discover impact fees and specific tax rates that put the county and Commonwealth at competitive disadvantages in regards to business.
The Chamber pushes for additional savings and economies of scale to be sought and adopted prior to any form of government (local, state, federal) considering increasing current taxes or implementing new taxes.
Tort and Civil Justice Reform
The Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce opposes measures that would increase the burden of excessive litigation on our current common sense legal system and diminish the current competitive position.
The Chamber supports pro-business tort and civil justice reform. While not limited to the topic of healthcare, tort reform would be integral in the reduction of health care costs.
The Chamber supports legislation that makes it simpler for the court system to clear its docket of cases where the preponderance of evidence favors one party and to do so in a manner that would prevent trial expenses.
Virginia is one of the few states that allows cases to be filed wherever a defendant regularly conducts business. The Chamber recommends this be changed to encourage the use of more appropriate venues and avoid costly forum shopping.
The Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce emphasizes the necessity of a long-standing, sustainable fund for transportation to continue the economic vitality of Northern Virginia and the improvement of the overall quality of life. The use of public funds, private partnerships and other sources of funding are encouraged to maintain our roads, rails and public transit system.
To complement existing travel lanes, we support the addition of high-occupancy toll lanes on the Washington Beltway and on I-95/I-395 and on 66 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 and on 66 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.
The Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce opposes all unemployment insurance benefits that increases the long-term burden on small business employers, who aid in the creation of jobs.
Unfunded Mandates and Policies
The Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce opposes the imposition of unfunded mandates or policies that would require businesses to fund the long-term costs of these mandates. We seek greater transparency and disclosure when it comes to the specific costs any mandate would have on businesses to understand the costs and benefits.
Unionization and Right to Work Laws
The Central Fairfax 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.
The Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce supports legislation that assists with the employment and entrepreneurship of our armed service members (active and inactive).
The Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce supports legislation that may ease the regulations behind workforce affordable housing and support their development to promote shared prosperity in the business community. Workforce in this case includes police, first responders, teachers, healthcare workers, service industry, and public-based positions. With an unstable housing market and depleted staffing, the Chamber encourages incentivizing developers and mitigating costs related to land use to support our workers and improve retention and recruitment.
The Chamber also supports alternative project solutions, financing alternatives for projects, and public-private partnerships for both new construction and existing inventory conversion near employment centers and transit hubs that creates a more viable economic flow. Being established near transit and providing more affordable housing can mitigate traffic congestion and the financial, timely costs of travel. This development can be supported by the Affordable Housing funds by the local, state, and federal levels to promote investment.