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Solid Mix: Session Wrap Up Edition

March 5, 2019

The 2019 General Assembly Session wrapped up on Sunday, February 24. While short sessions are always hectic, I am proud of the work I along with my colleagues in the House of Delegates were able to accomplish. Despite the distractions and controversies in the executive branch, the General Assembly was laser-focused on getting our job done in a timely and responsible manner. Thanks to everyone that took the time to visit, call and write about legislation that was of interest to you. I’m glad to be back home in the district and have already started meeting with several constituents and groups.

Session Highlights

The 2019 General Assembly Session produced a stark contrast for Virginia. The controversies of the Democratic statewide office holders have led to chaos in the executive branch and Democratic caucuses and embarrassment for our state. On the other hand, the Republican-led General Assembly delivered leadership and results on the issues that matter most.

One of the most significant accomplishments of this short session was the passage of a $1 billion tax relief package that will put money back in the pockets of hardworking Virginia families.

We also passed a number of school safety bills to make our schools safer through threat prevention and additional counseling and mental health resources. I was also pleased to advance legislation that creates an affordable healthcare option for small businesses and self-employed individuals. 

The House also defeated a number of extreme measures, chief among them was the bill to expand access to late-term abortion, even up to the moment of birth. We also defeated a Virginia version of the “Green New Deal” that would skyrocket energy costs and harm low income families the most.

Interstate 81

While we saw a number of successes this session, there were also some setbacks. How to address the safety and reliability deficiencies on I-81 was one of those. The sentiment from constituents has been clear, we need to get something done on I-81. That’s the mindset that I took to Richmond at the beginning of session and I maintained that position throughout.

In the final days of session we passed House Bill 2718, patroned by Delegate Steve Landes. This bill creates the I-81 Corridor Improvement Fund and the I-81 Committee. Unfortunately, it did not include a funding mechanism to allow us to start making the necessary improvements now. This is certainly not what I was hoping for. Nonetheless, this legislation will ensure the issue does not go away. Hopefully the public input gained through the committee and will create a stronger position heading into next year, so we can obtain the votes necessary to pass a dedicated funding mechanism.

From the beginning I felt any final plan should not place an undue burden on any particular industry sector, and everyone should have a little skin in the game. I expressed these thoughts through countless discussions with the bill patrons and others directly involved in the negotiations.

The funding mechanisms considered near the end of the legislative process involving higher taxes on diesel and higher truck registration fees would have been a significant fiscal impact on my personal family business. However, I was fully prepared to vote in support of that plan because, while far from ideal, I felt that was in the overall best interest of 26th District citizens and the Commonwealth. There is already a cost to the safety and reliability issues that plague I-81 – be it lost time spent with family, or goods that do not get delivered on time, much less the lives lost and injuries that directly or indirectly can be tied to this deficient highway.

Moving forward, it is my strong hope that stakeholders, with significant public input, can reach a consensus that allows us to move forward with the necessary funding mechanism next year.

Budget Update

As our final action before leaving Richmond, we passed a balanced budget as our constitution requires, without raising taxes on Virginians. The final conference report approved Sunday still makes some necessary targeted investments in core services. Included in these investments is sizable support for public education. We adopted increases to support the state share of a 5% teacher pay raise. This is the fourth teacher pay raise in six years. There is also $85.7 million in new additional funding for K-12 education. Included in this is targeted investments to our “at risk” programs for schools with a high minority or low-income population. For higher education the budget includes $57 million to “freeze” tuition at our public colleges, as well as additional support for TAG grants, the Workforce Credential Grant Program, and need based financial aid.

The budget also invests $19 million total to deploy broadband in unserved areas, attempting to meet a critical need in our rural communities. We also boosted reserves in our state savings accounts and maintained longstanding language that prohibits taxpayer funding of abortions.

View the full budget by visiting

Session: Week 5

February 12, 2019

We have passed the official midpoint of the 2019 Session and we’re now entering the home stretch.

Before I provide a General Assembly update, I want to touch on the events that have transpired over the last week in the Commonwealth. The revelations against and admissions made by our state leaders are both surprising and disturbing. It has been a tough week for Virginians on all political spectrums and has understandably shaken their faith in our Government.

However, Virginia has weathered storms before and we will get through this one. These controversies will be resolved in due course. To be clear, despite the media insinuations that the Capitol is in crisis and the entire state government is paralyzed with these scandals, I assure you that is not the case. The General Assembly is proceeding with our necessary business as we consider and advance legislation to improve the lives of all Virginians. We were sent to Richmond to do a job and I want to assure you that while our Commonwealth has been shaken by these developments, our work continues without disruption. The Commonwealth’s 100,000 state employees also continue to serve diligently.

I hope you will join me in praying for our Commonwealth and our leaders at this difficult time.

Tax Relief Agreement Reached

Republicans in the House and Senate have agreed on the terms of a $1 billion tax relief package, the most significant tax relief plan in at least 15 years and the second largest tax cut in Virginia history. The legislation is expected to be voted on by the House and Senate on Monday, then forwarded to Governor Northam who has agreed to sign the plan. ​​​​​​​

The bicameral compromise will provide $420 million in tax refunds to Virginia taxpayers in October of 2019, increase the standard deduction by fifty percent beginning in tax year 2019, maintain the current rules for state and local taxes (SALT), and include key business tax provisions for Virginia’s largest job creators. The total package will guarantee at least $976 million in tax relief and ensure that all additional revenues from the permanent provisions of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are placed in the state’s cash reserve fund. 

Under this plan, married couples will receive a tax refund check of up to $220 in October and beginning next year, will receive $173 in tax relief on their state taxes, for a total of $400 back over the next two years. This is simple, direct and meaningful tax relief.

I have been consistent in my position that we must return to the hardworking taxpayers what is rightfully theirs and not use the “windfall” as an excuse to raise taxes. This is especially true given that we are seeing positive revenue growth anyway without squeezing middle class taxpayers further.

House Passes Budget
This week we passed amendments to our two-year spending plan that invests additional resources in public education, school safety, higher education, and economic development while still rejecting the tax hike proposed by the other side of the aisle. They wanted to spend excess revenues (your tax dollars) in an attempt to increase the size of government, while we believe the money should be returned to the taxpayers,

The budget identifies $120 million in healthcare savings, strengthens taxpayer protections in the Medicaid forecasting process, eliminates unfunded liabilities and saves $729 million in state spending over the next quarter-century.
The budget includes a record investment of nearly $19 million specifically for school safety, doubling the funding for School Security Grants and adding $3 million for school resource officers. As a recommendation of the Select Committee on School safety, it also invests $36 million new dollars to reduce the student to counselor ratio in our public schools. We also offered an additional 2% pay boost for our teachers and state employees. This is on top of the 3% included in the budget last year, for a total of 5% offered in the biennium.   

The budget increases higher education funding by $54 million compared to the adopted budget and prioritizes higher education affordability by including $45 million to incentivize colleges and universities to hold tuition flat at 2019 levels. It also includes an increase for the Tuition Assistance Grant funding for students who attend Virginia’s private colleges  and a sizable boost for the Workforce Credential Grant program that provides significant aid to meet the need in high demand fields. 

Other areas to note are a significant investment in broadband of $24 million. Bringing broadband service to our unserved rural communities is critical. The budget also raises the accelerated sales tax (AST) threshold to $10 million, thus eliminating this burden on smaller businesses. Raising the threshold and eventually eliminating AST has been a priority of mine for several years. 

This is a responsible budget that puts taxpayers first. I’m hopeful much of our plan can be adopted in the final conference report between the House and Senate.     

Lowering College Savings Costs
On Tuesday we passed HB 1611, legislation to make it easier for families to afford college by lowering the price of Prepaid529 plans. The legislation will lower the current cost of an eight semester contract by more than $3,000.
Currently, families pay a 10 percent “pricing reserve” on top of the semester contract prices. The pricing reserve  is on top of the amount needed to pay future contract benefits and is used to mitigate risk to the fund.
A recent analysis by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC), found that Virginia’s Prepaid529 program is funded at 138%. JLARC indicated it is funded well beyond levels necessary to ensure benefits and solvency. Therefore, they recommended a 5% pricing reserve would be adequate to pay benefits while improving affordability for plan participants. 

This commonsense proposal will have a significant impact on families’ being able to keep more money in their pockets and attend college at a lower cost.

Virginia 529 College Savings Plans are a good investment for future education related expenses. It’s never too early or too late to start saving for college! I encourage you to visit to get started today.    

Contact Us
I appreciate all the visitors from back home that have come to see us this session. We are still in Richmond for the next two weeks and welcome the opportunity to meet or hear from you. You can continue to email [email protected] or call (540) 698-1026 to share your thoughts on legislation or to schedule an appointment to meet with myself or my staff. 

You can also keep up with us on social media at  or
Thanks for allowing me the continued opportunity to serve as your representative in Richmond!  

Wilt Announces Re-Election Bid

December 12, 2018

Harrisonburg – Joined by a group of supporters and local leaders, Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Broadway) officially announced that he is seeking re-election in 2019 to continue to serve as the Delegate for the 26th House District in the Virginia General Assembly. The announcement took place on the court house steps Tuesday.

“It has been an honor to serve as the Delegate for the 26th District for eight years,” stated Delegate Wilt. “Since first being elected, I have never wavered from my commitment to the citizens of this district.”

Delegate Wilt touted his support for policies that provide opportunities for individuals and families through limited government, a strong education system that empowers teachers and parents and a balanced approach to environmental and water quality issues.

Congressman-Elect Ben Cline, State Senator Mark Obenshain, House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert along with several other local officials were on hand to lend their support. Congressman-Elect Cline touted Delegate Wilt’s credentials as a small business owner and leader on business, Chesapeake Bay and Agriculture related issues.

Delegate Wilt indicated his campaign will focus on building grassroots support and listening to the opinions of all residents. With the 2019 General Assembly Session approaching in January, he affirmed that his personal focus these next several months will be on conducting the people’s business in Richmond.

Speaker Cox Appoints Delegate Wilt to House Commerce and Labor Committee

December 1, 2018

Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox announced Monday Delegate Tony Wilt has been appointed to serve on the House Committee on Commerce and Labor. Delegate Wilt’s appointment is effective immediately.

“Tony is an experienced member of the House of Delegates and a valuable leader within our caucus,” said Speaker Cox. “Throughout his time as a member of the House of Delegates, he has proven himself to be a thoughtful member of various other committees. Tony often receives praise from members on both sides of the aisle for his work ethic, depth of knowledge, and willingness to find practical solutions. He will be a great addition to this committee.”

Wilt was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2010. He represents the 26th House District, located in the City of Harrisonburg and parts of Rockingham County.

“Tony is a well-respected member of the House of Delegates and will be a welcome addition to the Commerce and Labor Committee,” said Chairman Terry Kilgore. “Tony’s record of service to his district, the other committees he sits on, and this body as a whole will prove invaluable to this committee. I look forward to working with Tony as a member of Commerce and Labor for many years to come.”

“I want to thank Speaker Cox and Chairman Kilgore for allowing me to continue serving the people of Harrisonburg and Rockingham in this new role,” said Delegate Wilt. “Throughout my time in the House of Delegates I have found the committee process to be one of the most rewarding aspects of my job as it allows for a greater understanding of a wide array of issues. As a small business owner I know the importance of cultivating an environment where businesses and entrepreneurs can thrive with as little government interference as possible. The Commerce and Labor committee does important work and I look forward to getting right to work.”

Wilt Statement on Veto of Voter Registration Legislation

May 18, 2018

Harrisonburg – Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Rockingham) released the following statement after learning that Governor Northam vetoed House Bill 1144:

“I am deeply disappointed in the Governor’s decision to veto HB 1144. This was a common-sense bill that would have improved accuracy and accountability in the voter registration process. It simply required any third-party individual that assists an applicant with the completion of their voter registration application to include their basic contact information on the application.

“In vetoing the legislation, Governor Northam used scare tactics and misinformation to justify his decision, claiming that the failure of an individual to include this information could lead to delays or denials of eligible voter applications. We were meticulous in our review of this legislation and were assured by staff attorneys that an otherwise valid application could not be denied based on missing contact information.

“Instead, this would have provided registrars an additional tool to correct possible errors and further educate individuals working as part of a voter registration drive on the need to ensure the accurate completion of applications. In the more egregious cases, it could have also served as a way to deter voter registration fraud and provided valuable information to investigate suspected cases of registration fraud.

“Voter registrars from across the Commonwealth report that applications turned in as part of registrations drives often contain numerous errors and omissions. That’s why the Voter Registrars Association of Virginia saw the value in this legislation and fully supported it.

“It is unfortunate that the Governor opted to once again revert to his party’s position of avoiding any policy that might remotely improve the integrity and accuracy of the election process. This position is out of touch with the desires of the Virginia electorate and I had hoped for better from our new Governor.”

Wilt Student Privacy Bill Passes House

February 7, 2018

RICHMOND-On Wednesday the House of Delegates passed legislation patroned by Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Broadway) to protect student’s personal information. The bill, HB 1, is a top priority for House Republicans after the most recent election cycle revealed gaps in Virginia’s Freedom of Information law. The current law allowed political groups to obtain student cell phone numbers to send spam text messages to students.

“Schools should not be permitted to release personal contact information for students without permission,” said Delegate Wilt. “While it’s not acceptable for political or marketing purposes, I’m especially concerned that someone could use this information with sinister criminal intent. Given the heightened awareness for protecting personal information in the digital age, this bill is a common-sense way to protect the privacy of our students.”

The bill passed the House with language to prohibit the release of personal student contact information to outside groups, businesses or individuals without the express written permission of students or parents. The bill applies to both public K-12 schools and higher education institutions.

The legislation passed the House of Delegates on a vote of 62-35. Following bipartisan support in the House, the bill will now move to the Senate for consideration.

Wilt Introduces Two Pro-Business Bills

January 8, 2018

RICHMOND- Ahead of the 2018 General Assembly Session, Delegate Wilt introduced two bills on Monday that will benefit small businesses.

The first, HB 512, is a measure to permanently eliminate the accelerated sales tax requirement that currently exists for many retail businesses. Currently, retailers that have gross sales over a certain amount are required to pay in an estimated amount for their June sales tax collections before the month is even over. For budget purposes, this allows the Commonwealth to count these revenues in the current fiscal year, rather than the next.

“The accelerated sales tax was implemented during the great recession to boost revenue, but I feel the time has come to phase out and permanently end this budget gimmick,” said Delegate Wilt. “For businesses that may be struggling or simply operate on tight margins, this can be a hardship.”

The second bill, HB 513, revises the definition of small business for government procurement purposes. This will ensure business size is appropriately assessed against specific industry standards, as opposed to a single arbitrary threshold that applies to all businesses regardless of the unique aspects of a given industry. In government procurement, some preference is often given to certified small businesses to give them an equal opportunity to compete against large companies that may otherwise always have the advantage. This legislation is the result of discussion and consideration of this issue by the Virginia Small Business Commission. Delegate Wilt was elected Chairman of the Commission in October.

“Given the many new industries that have emerged in the last few decades, I think it’s appropriate to reevaluate our current standard for how we determine what constitutes a small business for procurement purposes. It just makes more sense to compare the size of a business against its own peers, as opposed to other sectors that bear no resemblance in the way operations are conducted.”

The 2018 General Assembly Session will convene in Richmond on Wednesday, January 10.

House Republicans file first bills of 2018 General Assembly Session

November 20, 2017

House Republicans filed the first three bills for the 2018 General Assembly Session on Monday, advancing practical solutions to everyday issues. These bills will protect student privacy, make it easier to find and hire new teachers, and help high school students who participate in dual enrollment programs.

“The House Republican Caucus is unified and committed to advancing policies that help people in practical ways with the problems that matter most to them,” said Speaker-designee Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “The legislation filed today is just an early glimpse at the type of common sense approach we will take this session. We are committed to working across the aisle where we can, and these three bills are good examples of that.”

House Bill 1 will protect sensitive data, such as the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and dates of birth, of students enrolled in Virginia public colleges and universities from being released through a Freedom of Information Act request. Media outlets across Virginia this fall brought to light a shady practice being used by some political campaigns to target students by accessing their personal contact information without their knowledge. With the passing of HB1, students must provide consent before their personal information can be shared with any outside individual or group.

“When students and parents provide colleges and universities with their personal information, they should not have to worry that that information will be made public and used inappropriately,” said Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Rockingham), who introduced the legislation after pledging to do so earlier this fall. “In the past, political activist groups and campaigns were accessing this data, unbeknownst to students or their parents. This bill will put a stop to that by giving students and parents direct control over how their personal information is used.”

House Bill 2 will allow a spouse of any member of the armed forces who has a valid out-of-state teaching license to enjoy licensure reciprocity in Virginia. This means that an individual who is currently a licensed teacher in another state and married to a member of the military could seamlessly transition into a Virginia classroom if their family is transferred to Virginia.

“The Commonwealth has one of the largest military populations in the country and also faces a significant teacher shortage,” said Delegate Dickie Bell (R-Staunton), a teacher, veteran, and the patron of HB2. “This legislation is a common sense proposal that will strengthen our commitment to being the most veteran friendly state in the country, while also removing obstacles for licensed, qualified, experienced teachers to get a job here as soon as possible. This will make it easier for our local school leaders to find and hire qualified teachers in our public schools.”

House Bill 3 will require the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) to establish quality standards for dual enrollment courses, including standards for instructors, materials, and content. Courses that meet or exceed these quality standards will be certified as “Universal Transfer Courses” and satisfy course credit at any public institution of higher education. This legislation will save students time and money by ensuring dual enrollment programs are working as intended by allowing students to earn college credits while in high school and apply those credits to a 2-year or 4-year degree.

“Too many high school students are working hard and spending extra money for dual enrollment courses, only to get accepted to a two- or four-year institution and find out their dual enrollment courses will not transfer,” said House Education Committee Chairman R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta), who will carry House Bill 3. “This bill sets a clear policy on dual enrollment, eliminating confusion and making sure our kids can start their higher education learning with credits they earned in high school.”

Wilt Announces Seven Endorsements

November 2, 2017

Harrisonburg – With less than a week until Election Day, Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Broadway) announced his final list of endorsements from a wide array of business, economic, agricultural and issue oriented groups.

Delegate Wilt is endorsed by four of the premier business and agriculture advocacy groups in Virginia. He is the preferred candidate of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Virginia REALTORS® RPAC, Virginia Retail Merchants Association and the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation AgPAC.

While they do not endorse, Delegate Wilt also received a 100% A+ ranking earlier this year from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. They base their ranking on legislator’s voting record during the legislative session.

“As a small business owner myself, I am proud to have received the endorsements and high marks from all of Virginia’s leading business and agriculture advocacy groups,” stated Wilt. “In order to grow our economy and create more good paying jobs, we must control government intrusion and foster an economic environment that allows businesses to grow and thrive.

In addition, Delegate Wilt received endorsements from three issue advocacy groups; the Virginia Society for Human Life, National Rifle Association and the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL).

“During my time in office, I have been proud to stand firm in defense of our Second Amendment rights and the right to human life,” said Wilt. “If re-elected, I will continue to defend these rights, which the vast majority of Valley residents support.”

Wilt Elected Chairman of Virginia Small Business Commission

October 3, 2017

Richmond– On Monday Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Broadway) was elected chairman of the Virginia Small Business Commission during a regular meeting of the group held at the Capitol. The Virginia Small Business Commission exists to study, report, and make recommendations to the General Assembly on issues of concern to small businesses in the Commonwealth.

“I’m honored to receive the confidence of my fellow Commission members. I’ve enjoyed serving as a member of the group and look forward to taking on this new role,” said Wilt. “As a small business owner, I understand the significant role that small businesses play in creating a vibrant local economy. Unfortunately, Virginia’s economic growth is lagging behind many other states and a recent report indicated we are also behind on individual income growth. Since small businesses consistently lead the way in new job creation, this commission is an appropriate venue to consider tax, regulatory and other policy reforms that seek to improve the economic environment for small businesses.”

“I appreciate Delegate Wilt’s willingness to serve in this capacity,” stated the outgoing Chairman of the Commission, Delegate Danny Marshall (R-Danville). “Given his business background, I am confident he will do an excellent job guiding the work of the Commission. Like myself, I know he is committed to advancing policy that will make it easier for Virginia’s small businesses to grow and thrive.”

Small businesses account for 98 percent of the Commonwealth’s employers and employ nearly half of Virginia’s non-government workforce, according to federal government statistics.

Members of the Commission include state legislators, as well as citizen members appointed by the Governor that have a background in small business.

Delegate Wilt was appointed to the Virginia Small Business Commission by Speaker Bill Howell in 2012. He has served in the House of Delegates since 2010 and is currently seeking his 4th full term in office.