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SPRINGFIELD, VA — Today, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington Action Fund announced that they have endorsed Senator Dick Saslaw in his campaign for re-election. Democratic Leader Saslaw has proven his consistent support for Planned Parenthood and their health programs that so many men and women rely upon. After examining his efforts in prior sessions, Planned Parenthood has named Senator Saslaw a women’s health champion. 

“Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington Action Fund is proud to announce our endorsement for the re-election of Senator Saslaw of Virginia’s 35th Senate District,” said Laura Meyer, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC Action Fund. “We are grateful to have a leader like Senator Saslaw on the front lines, fighting to ensure all Virginians have access to affordable, nonjudgmental, comprehensive health care services.”

This year, I sponsored legislation (SB1319) that was signed into law to combine the existing sales tax holidays. It will make it easier for Virginia families to take advantage of savings this summer. During the three-day sales tax holiday, consumers can purchase school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items, as well as Energy Star and WaterSense products without paying sales tax.

The sales tax holiday will run from Friday, August 7th at 12:01 a.m. and end on Sunday, August 9th at 11:59 p.m.

I hope you will take advantage of these savings. See the list below of tax-exempt items. You can visit the Virginia Department of Taxation website for more information: www.tax.virginia.gov.

Sincerely,

Senator Dick Saslaw

 

School Supplies, Clothing, and Footwear:

Hurricane and Emergency Preparedness Items:  

  • Portable generators - $1,000 or less per item

  • Gas-powered chainsaws - $350 or less per item

  • Chainsaw accessories - $60 or less per item

  • Other specified hurricane preparedness items with a sales price of $60 or less per item

  • Detailed list of hurricane preparedness items

Energy Star and WaterSense Items:

Qualifying items carrying either the Energy Star or WaterSense label with a sales price of $2,500 or less purchased for noncommercial home or personal use.

  • Qualifying Energy Star items include dishwashers, clothes washers, air conditioners, ceiling fans,  light bulbs, dehumidifiers, and refrigerators

  • Qualifying WaterSense items include bathroom sink faucets, faucet accessories such as aerators and shower heads, toilets, urinals, and landscape irrigation controllers

  • Detailed list of Energy Star and WaterSense items

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The public is the driving interest on I-66 project

Interstate 66 outside the Beltway needs to be fixed. At rush hour, it can seem like a parking lot. It’s clear something has to be done.

The $2 billion to $3 billion project must put taxpayers first in determining what will be the best deal.

It has been long assumed the private sector is more effective than government when it comes to delivering large transportation projects. That may be true in some cases, but not necessarily in all. When hundreds of millions of tax dollars are at stake, we must make sure the taxpayers’ best interests are protected.

Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne recently hired a consulting team to work with the commonwealth for an “apples-to-apples” comparison of the numbers. That baseline analysis shows that the commonwealth could finance the project, saving up to $600 million and providing up to $500 million in excess revenue when compared with typical public-private partnerships and concession terms previously negotiated by the state on several large projects. That said, Transurban has done an excellent job of building and maintaining the high-occupancy toll lanes on Interstate 495 and Interstate 95.

If the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority finances the I-66 project, any excess revenue should stay in Northern Virginia. The transportation authority should insist on this in writing. Layne said that he supports keeping any excess revenue in our region and that the state will shoulder the revenue risk.

Further, the existing lanes on the I-66 project should remain free for public use. It is critical that the final design cause the least amount of disruption to the community.

The possibility of the state completing the project has stirred the pot. Several private-sector entities have responded to the challenge and are working to offer a better deal for the public. The state has released draft business terms for the private sector, including that a private company, if chosen, limit the public contribution to no more than $600 million. The private entity must pay for transit services as well as park-and-ride lots. The terms will not preclude Metro expansion.

The commonwealth’s new law, which I supported, reforms the public-private partnership process to make it more transparent and accountable to taxpayers. The public’s negotiating power has been significantly strengthened so that taxpayers get the best deal, whether it is publicly or privately financed, for a project that is desperately needed.

 
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Springfield, VA — Today, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia announced that they have endorsed Senator Dick Saslaw in his campaign for re-election. Saslaw serves as the Senate Democratic Leader and has a consistent record of supporting women’s health. The Senator has worked with his colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, to defeat measures that would undermine a woman’s right to control her own medical decisions. After examining Senator Saslaw’s 2015 voting record, NARAL Virginia has rated him as 100% pro-choice.


"Voters in the 35th district are incredibly lucky to have Dick Saslaw as their 100% pro-choice Senator," said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. "Throughout his years of leadership in the Virginia Senate, Saslaw has proven time and again that he will stand up for women's health and rights, and he can be counted on to keep government out of Virginians personal, private medical decisions. NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia is proud to endorse Dick Saslaw for reelection, and we look forward to working closely with him in the years to come.”

Springfield, VA — State Senator Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax)  issued the following statement following the Supreme Court’s ruling that will guarantee marriage equality for all Americans :

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is a major victory for the LGBT community and a historic leap forward for the United States. I applaud the Supreme Court for ruling on the side of equality. Discrimination against same-sex couples is no longer acceptable. We must keep working to ensure that all are welcome in Virginia and build on the significant progress we have made over the years.”

Springfield, VA – State Senator Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax)  issued the following statement in light of Governor McAuliffe’s announcement to begin the process of removing the Confederate flag from Virginia license plates:

 

“I applaud Governor McAuliffe for taking action  to remove the Confederate Flag from license plates in the Commonwealth. This divisive symbol does not belong on our roadways or public spaces. I believe this action helps send a clear message that Virginia does not support the bleak period of our nation’s history that it represents. Our Commonwealth must be a welcoming place to all people and shedding this symbol is a step toward achieving that objective.”

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The month of June brings the beginning of summer, graduations, Father’s Day and this year The World Police and Fire Games. Fairfax County is host to these international competitors who will visit our region at the end of the month. You can participate as an observer or consider volunteering. For more information see Fairfax2015.com.

Virginia Marketplace

Since being implemented, many Virginians have signed up for healthcare under marketplace exchanges. Currently, consumers can choose from an average of 23 plans offered by multiple insurance companies. You may have heard that there will be an upcoming Health Insurance Marketplace rate review. Under the Affordable Care Act, tax credits were made available to keep coverage costs down. In Virginia, 83 percent of marketplace enrollees received a premium tax credit. In 2015, the average premium paid by marketplace consumers was $89, saving an average of $259 as as direct result of the tax credit. More than 385,000 people signed up for coverage through the Marketplace in Virginia.

The major insurers in Virginia are proposing either modest premium increases or no increase at all. This is good news for Virginia consumers. There will be a public comment period and citizens will have the opportunity to weigh in on any proposed increase of 10 percent or more.

I-66 Transformation Project

Many Northern Virginians have been keeping a close eye on the I-66 transformation proposal. It would reshape 25 miles of I-66 from U.S. Route 15 in Haymarket to I-495/Capital Beltway into a multimodal corridor that moves drivers and people more efficiently. It would add three regular lanes in each direction, two express lanes in each direction, and a high-frequency bus service. Last month, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) released the results of the Commonwealth’s analysis of procurement options for the I-66 project. The report found that publicly financing the project may save taxpayers between $300 million and $600 million. Over time, it would also provide for up to $500 million in revenue to be used on other transportation projects in Northern Virginia.

It is currently estimated the total cost of this important project will come in at around $2.1 billion. VDOT analyzed the benefits of using public financing versus using a public private partnership (P3) as well as the long-term fiscal impact. I want to make sure that we are using taxpayer dollars wisely and ensure Virginia will see revenues from this project. Assuming the math is correct, I prefer to see VDOT take the lead on the project. Much has been written about the Rt 460 Public-Private Partnership. Some $250 Million of taxpayer funds were put into that project before a shovel of dirt was dug. We don’t need or want a repeat like this misappropriation. The transmodal project still has a long way to go. Stay tuned.

Vote on June 9 For Penny Gross

I hope you will join me in voting for Supervisor Penny Gross in the Democratic Primary on June 9. Penny has been a champion for our region and has fought hard to improve the quality of life for all of her constituents. She has worked tirelessly on the issues for improving transportation infrastructure, building new public schools, and spurring economic growth. Penny has my full support and it is critical we keep her on the job.

For information about how to vote in the June 9 primary, please visit elections.virginia.gov.

July 1 marks the beginning of the fiscal year in Virginia and the enactment date for hundreds of new laws. You will be hearing about some of the new laws in the near future. To all of our graduates, I send my best wishes in their future endeavors.

 

 

Springfield, VA — Today, the Saslaw for State Senate campaign announced that the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce's PAC (NOVABizPAC) has endorsed Senator Saslaw. The NOVABizPAC’s board is made up of business leaders from across Northern Virginia, representing a wide range of industries.

“Because of Dick Saslaw's leadership in the Senate, Virginia is a great place to start or grow a  business,” said NOVABizPAC Chair Scott McGeary. “He understands what it takes to diversify our economy and create a strong business climate. The Virginia business community is supporting Senator Saslaw because of his commitment to cultivating a highly skilled workforce, updating our infrastructure, and building a brighter future for all Virginians.”

Senator Saslaw is a successful local businessman in the gasoline and auto service industry. He has led the charge in the state Senate to make Virginia a top business destination. Dick Saslaw has partnered with Governor McAuliffe in an effort to build a new Virginia economy that will create jobs and expand opportunity for Virginia workers.

“It means a lot to have such strong support from the business community,” said Sen. Dick Saslaw, the Democratic Leader in the Virginia Senate. “I will continue fighting to make sure that Virginia remains one of the best states to do business in, and that Virginia families have every opportunity to get ahead. I look forward to working with business leaders across Virginia to create new jobs and establish an economy that generates long-term growth.” 

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