2018 General Assembly Constituent Survey

1. The General Assembly will craft Virginia’s two-year budget this session. How should Virginia prioritize state spending in the biennial budget? [Please rank your responses with 1 = Highest Priority and 7 = Lowest Priority.]

Funding to encourage economic development and job creation.
Funding for healthcare and the social safety net.
Funding for mental health care services.
Funding for public safety.
Funding for public schools (kindergarten through 12th grade).
Funding for state-supported colleges and universities.
Funding for transportation.

2. The federal government has recently approved a tax reduction measure intended to simplify the tax filing process for individuals. The law raises the standard deduction for taxpayers while placing limits on the number and amount of other deductions and credits. Should Virginia initiate a similar process to simplify its tax filing process?


3. As part of its tax reduction and simplification legislation, the federal government is reducing the corporate tax rate, which had been the highest among industrialized countries. Although Virginia’s corporate tax rate is low in comparison to most states, North Carolina reduced its corporate tax rate to the lowest in the nation. As part of its efforts to attract and retain businesses, should Virginia reduce its corporate tax rate?


4. Which of the following statements best characterizes your views on the taxes you pay to the Commonwealth of Virginia (not to your local government or the federal government)?

Virginia’s taxes are reasonable, and I believe I am paying my fair share in taxes to the Commonwealth.
Virginia’s taxes are too high and I believe I am paying too much in taxes to the Commonwealth.
Virginia’s taxes are a bargain and I believe I could afford to pay a little more so the Commonwealth can increase or improve its services.

5. The Virginia Retirement System (VRS) faces significant unfunded liabilities. To alleviate this situation and strengthen the system for state and local government employees currently enrolled in VRS, should the Commonwealth change the system for future employees from its current defined-benefit basis to a defined-contribution plan, similar to those offered in the private sector?


6. Many states offer parents greater choice in elementary and secondary education. Which of the following school choice options should be permitted and/or encouraged in Virginia? [Check all that apply.]

Charter schools.
Virtual schools (online public schools).

7. The cost of a four-year college education continues to rise. Which of the following statements best characterizes your views on tuition at Virginia’s state-supported colleges and universities?

Virginia should institute a tuition freeze for in-state students at state-supported colleges and universities.
Virginia should reduce the rate of tuition for in-state students at state-supported colleges and universities, while permitting tuition increases for out-of-state students to offset the loss.
Virginia should permit colleges and universities to set their own tuition rates without restrictions being placed by the General Assembly.

8. Virginia’s current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is identical to the federal minimum wage. That is also the minimum wage in our neighboring states of Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee. The minimum wage in the District of Columbia will increase to $13.25 in 2018, while Maryland’s will increase to $10.10. West Virginia’s is already set at $8.75. Which of the following statements best characterizes your views on Virginia’s minimum wage?

Virginia should not place itself at a competitive disadvantage to Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee (and 16 other states) by raising its minimum wage above the federal rate.
Virginia should emulate the states to its north and east (except for New Hampshire and Pennsylvania) by raising its minimum wage above the federal rate.

9. The Trump Administration has undone many of the regulations that restricted the mining and use of coal. To ensure the affordability of electricity and the economy of Southwest Virginia, should the Commonwealth act affirmatively to encourage the mining of coal?


10. The Trump Administration has effectively withdrawn the United States from the Paris Climate Accords, which would have placed significant restrictions on America’s ability to produce and generate energy from fossil fuels. The outgoing McAuliffe Administration has proposed to have Virginia abide by the terms of the Paris Climate Accords, the decision of the federal government notwithstanding. Which of the following statements best describes your views on how Virginia should approach this situation?

Virginia should abide by the terms of the Paris Climate Accords even if it leads to higher consumer energy prices or places Virginia at a competitive disadvantage to those states that follow the federal government’s decision.
Virginia should abide by the federal government’s decision and not place itself at a competitive disadvantage to other states or adopt policies that cause energy prices to increase.

11. Virginia requires Certificates of Public Need (COPN) before many healthcare facilities can be operational. Obtaining these Certificates requires a lengthy approval process. Proponents of COPN say the process is necessary to provide quality care and to ensure the financial viability of hospitals, especially in rural areas. Opponents of COPN say the program hinders competition, limits consumer choices, and increases the cost of healthcare. What should Virginia do about its COPN laws?

Leave COPN laws in place, at least until the federal government acts on repealing and replacing Obamacare.
Reform the COPN laws to allow greater access to expensive diagnostic services, like MRIs, but leave requirements relating to full service hospitals in place.
Repeal the COPN laws.

12. Considering the high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs associated with health insurance policies purchased through Obamacare exchanges, should hospitals and healthcare providers be required to inform consumers of the prices for medical procedures before they are provided?


13. The Constitution of Virginia prohibits convicted felons from voting. Currently, the Governor is permitted to restore the political rights of those convicted of a felony on an individual, case-by-case basis. Should the Constitution of Virginia be amended to allow those convicted of non-violent felonies to have their political rights restored once they have completed all the provisions of their sentence (incarceration, probation, fines, restitution, etc.)?


14. The status of monuments and memorials, especially those related to the Civil War, has become a contentious issue, both nationally and in Virginia. Which of the following statements best characterizes your view on monuments and memorials to those who fought for or sided with the Confederacy?

The monuments and memorials represent an important and significant chapter in Virginia history and should be left alone.
The monuments and memorials represent a repudiated chapter in Virginia history and state funds should be allocated to facilitate their removal.
The fate of the monuments and memorials should be determined by the governments of the localities where they are currently placed.

15. To strengthen the integrity of Virginia’s electoral system, the General Assembly approved legislation during the 2017 session to require the Department of Elections provide local voter registrars with a list of those voters who have been found to be registered in another state. Governor McAuliffe vetoed this legislation. Should the General Assembly again approve this measure to limit fraudulent voting?


16. The United States Constitution gives states the ability to call a “Convention of the States” to propose and consider constitutional amendments. Should Virginia join the more than two-dozen states that have already called for a Convention of the States to consider amendments to the U.S. Constitution?


17. Virginia currently gives political parties the option of choosing their nominees for elections by either a method run by the party (convention, caucus, etc.) or by a primary election administered by the state. Should political parties continue to have this option, or should they be required to use primaries to maximize voter participation?

Political parties should be able to choose their methods of nomination.
Political parties should be required to use primaries to maximize voter participation.

18. Should Virginia voters be allowed to align with a political party (Democrat, Green, Libertarian, Republican, etc.) when they register to vote?


19. Does Virginia need more gun control laws, fewer restrictions on firearms ownership, or currently has the right balance of laws on the ownership and use of firearms?

Need more
Reduce restrictions
Right amount

20. What do you believe are the top three issues Virginia lawmakers should address during the 2018 Session?


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