State lawmakers graded

Published 9:59 am Wednesday, April 25, 2012

RICHMOND—While Western Tidewater state Sen. Harry Blevins and Del. Rick Morris earned “A” ratings when it comes to favoring laws that support businesses, state Sen. Louise Lucas and Del. Rosyln Tyler earned “C” ratings.

The Virginia Chamber of Commerce recently released its 2012 Legislative Report Card, which grades legislators based on their support of pro-business issues during the recently completed legislative session.

Calculated annually based on legislators’ voting records on the principles and issues outlined, the Legislative Report Card also recognizes legislators for their support on “initiatives that will keep Virginia as the best state in the nation for business.”

“The Legislative Report Card allows us to recognize and honor legislators who uphold free-market principles and support the interests of the business community,” said Barry DuVal, president and chief executive officer of the Virginia Chamber. “In addition, it provides analysis of a legislator’s support for the business community’s priorities.”

Blevins, R-Chesapeake, earned a 100 percent. A former educator and principal of Great Bridge High School, he could not be reached for comment.

A freshman lawmaker, Morris, R-Carrollton, earned a 94 percent rating. He assumes he lost points with the chamber for not supporting a bill that would eliminate the machinery and tools tax levied on businesses.

“My localities have a low tax and so by eliminating it . . . I was just looking out for my own localities,” Morris said.

He noted that the tax is a source of revenue for local government.

Morris was pleased with his ranking.

“An ‘A’ is an ‘A’,” he said. “I believe in economic development and am very pro-business.”

Tyler, D-Jarratt, earned a 72 percent. She assumes it’s because she did not support insurance companies’ wishes not to cover costs incurred by volunteer fire departments when other coverage is not available.

“I support the volunteer firefighters,” Tyler said. “Volunteer fire departments are not paid for their services.”

“I support small businesses, particularly in Brunswick County where the power plant is coming,” she added. “It will generate jobs in our area.”

Lucas, D-Portsmouth, earned a 74 percent. She could not be reached.