April 22, 2017

Issues Facing Virginia Voters

Unleashing Innovation in Virginia

As Governor, Cliff Hyra will unleash the potential of small business owners and entrepreneurs by:

  • Ending the Business, Professional and Occupational License (aka BPOL) tax that taxes gross receipts, not profits and deters innovation
  • Ending state occupational licensing requirements for cosmetologists, interior decorators, nail technicians, etc.

Don’t Squash Virginia’s Boom in Food/Drink

Virginia has over 15,000  food and drink establishments, and the industry employs 368,000 Virginians.  This is all despite Virginia having some of the most obscure and obstructive food and beverage laws in the region.  Let’s be even more competitive by:

  • Allowing establishments to “give away” liquor at cost or loss as a customer perk or promotion
  • Privatizing the Virginia ABC: Allow brewers and distillers to sell in non-VABC stores
  • Allowing restaurants, bars to pay wholesale price for liquor like surrounding states
  • Freeing mixologists to innovate with craft cocktails. Don’t require cocktail ingredients to be approved by VABC
  • Reducing or repealing state requirements for food sales in establishments that serve liquor
  • Ending forcing establishments to prove via receipts 45% monthly food sales
  • Advocating for slash or repeal $4000 monthly food sale and $2000 “substantial meal” requirements
  • Expanding scope of recently-signed law that increased number of special events allowed for breweries and wineries
  • Assisting and encourage localities to streamline and eliminate unnecessary food truck regulations
  • Loosening up “Happy Hour” regulations
  • Encouraging localities to repeal or reduce business-killing “meal taxes”


  • Exempt first $60,000 of household income from state tax. To avoid massive marriage penalty, allow $30,000 exemption for individuals. Taxable income above that taxed at flat 5.75%


  • Appoint a commission modeled on 2002’s Governor’s Commission on Efficiency and Effectiveness (aka “Wilder Commission”), chaired by former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, appointed by Gov. Mark R. Warner
  • Authorize commission to explore Wilder Commission’s stated objectives to “Identify redundant and ineffective services” and “Streamline and consolidate state agencies and programs”
  • Implement Wilder Commission recommendations still relevant in 2017, including downsizing state government real estate holdings that are underutilized or vacant
Criminal Justice
  • According to the Justice Policy Institute, Virginia’s criminal justice budget was $3 billion in 2013 and continues to grow. Over $1.5 billion of that number for jails alone. JPI: “The cost to incarcerate a young person in a juvenile facility is roughly $100,000 per year.” Direct costs to incarcerate one adult prisoner were $22,000 annually in Virginia in 2015, according to the Vera Institute for Justice. Indirect costs may bring that total much higher (loss of tax revenue, loss of wages/spending, breakup of families)
  • In Virginia, drug arrests are trending up whereas they are trending down nationally, while in the Old Dominion and nationally, violent and property crimes and arrests are way down
  • Stop enforcing laws against marijuana possession – legalize marijuana and set it on a level playing field with tobacco and alcohol, thus generating tax revenue
  • Pardon prisoners in jail only for drug use (after completion of anti-recidivism/treatment programs)
  • Make arrest quotas illegal
  • End civil asset forfeiture abuse: Require a criminal charge, as well as clear and convincing evidence – the money goes to the general fund and not police
  • Bail reform: Experiments with bail in other states have shown equal or better results with much lower costs to the accused – many fewer poor people forced to stay in jail because they can’t afford expensive bail
  • Reintroduce parole for non-violent offenders
  • Introduce more competition and choice by expanding charter school program, modeled on a New York state program that shows much success, especially in the African American community. Emphasize the importance of education in growing Virginia’s economy, reducing inequality and promoting growth across all of the Commonwealth
  • Make public schools more adaptable and competitive
  • Repeal Virginia’s expensive, antiquated Standards of Quality (SoQ) funding formula. Replace SoQ’s with test at beginning and end of the school year to measure gains
  • Start a program to find budget savings by improving energy efficiency of schools that are in disrepair
  • Move from our current regulation-based healthcare system to an innovative healthcare system, using best-practices from other states to achieve better outcomes and efficiency. Look to Texas and their model for efficiency, as people from neighboring states currently travel there to receive care
  • Repeal Certificate of Public Need regulations that deter healthcare innovation
  • Explore options for increasing price transparency to facilitate a more market-based health care in Virginia
  • Expand legal care-giving roles for nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants by removing requirement of direct supervision of a physician in clinics in medically under-served or high-unemployment areas, both rural and urban
  • Allow the purchase of insurance across state lines
  • Explore allowing medical care out of state or out of country


  • Ensure gasoline tax and car registration taxes are directed to road maintenance
  • Explore “pay as you go” funding for new roads with tolls, proffers, impact fees

On the Pipeline Proposals

I oppose the taking of private land by the federal government for the benefit of private companies such as Dominion. I would ensure that the environmental review is conducted fairly and thoroughly, according to the law, without any favoritism shown to Dominion because of its size or perceived political clout.  Virginia’s excellent eminent domain reforms need to be enshrined in the state Constitution to avoid backtracking from future legislatures.” – Cliff Hyra