While impeachment inquiry proceedings fill up your newsfeed, it is important to remember the entire Virginia General Assembly is up for election, and that election is just over two weeks away.

This year, in particular, is likely one of the most critical election years in recent memory for the commonwealth. I say this because of two factors: (1) the slim majorities for Republicans in both the House of Delegates and the Senate; and (2) for the kinds of policies that could be discussed and potentially pass the General Assembly.

Let’s focus on the latter, primarily.

Recently, Virginia was ranked the No. 1 state for business by Forbes Magazine and CNBC, and for good reason. The commonwealth scores very high in areas pertaining to workforce, STEM jobs and manufacturing; and, Amazon choosing Virginia sends a clear message about what this state has to offer.

That could status could juristically change if some of the following policies are adopted by the General Assembly and signed into law by the governor. Let’s look at some of those policies:

» Mandatory Paid Medical Leave: This proposal is simple enough, and sounds like a great idea on the surface; however, when looking deeper, it is nothing more than another financial and regulatory burden on businesses. Many candidates are calling for this kind of policy in the commonwealth. When you vote, as a business owner or employee, take into consideration if that candidate will vote to increase your payroll taxes and regulatory compliance efforts.

» Minimum Wage: Increasing the minimum wage is a conversation that has swept the nation, and many states have adopted a higher minimum wage. Most of the proposals from this past legislative session would have been major increases over a very short period of time. We all want wages to increase; but, when you vote, take into consideration if that candidate will vote to mandate you pay your employees more and more each year.

» Right To Work: Currently, the commonwealth is a “Right To Work” state, meaning, if your organization has a union, you, the employee, are not forced to join it if deemed as such. If Virginia were not a “Right To Work” state, and your employees decided it was not in their best interests to join the Union, the employee could either not be offered the job or even fired from their current job. This primarily impacts manufacturers in our region. When you vote, take into consideration if that candidate will vote to take away your choice of joining a union or not, and how it could impact your employment status.

In the end, it is vital that business get out to vote in the coming days, and cast their vote for those candidates who are most friendly to pro-business legislation.

These votes are critical to the development of our state, our various regions, and our localities. While many other topics are likely to be at the forefront of the 2020 session, these three proposals alone would dramatically impact Virginia in a negative manner.

Advocating for free enterprise policies, in the end, is how Virginia has received such high scores for being a business-friendly state. At the same time, for businesses and their employees, free enterprise should be a major factor when determining who should receive your vote.

Faraldi is director of government relations for the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance. Email him at cfaraldi@lynchburgregion.org. He wrote this column for The News & Advance.

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