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Donald McEachin


Estate/inside yard sale, May 18-19, 7 am to 3 pm at 966 Doyles Lake Road, Emporia, rain or shine

Congressman McEachin to Host 2nd Annual Parent Power Forum

Petersburg, Va. – SATURDAY, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) will host his annual “Know Your Rights: Parent Power Forum” at Petersburg High School to provide parents and caregivers with information about their student’s rights in the classroom. Attendees will be able to benefit from a panel discussion and workshops lead by experienced educators, school administrators, parents, and education advocates.

Who:    Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), Mayor Samuel Parham (Petersburg), Mr. Kenneth Pritchett, Chair of the Petersburg School Board, and Dr. William Wynn, Principal of Petersburg High School

What:  Congressman McEachin’s annual “Know Your Rights: Parent Power Forum” aims to provide parents and caregivers with information about their student’s rights in the classroom with a panel discussion and workshops lead by experienced educators, school administrators, parents, and education advocates. The information will focus on ways to better support the needs of students with special needs and different learning abilities.

When: SATURDAY, May 19, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Where: Petersburg High School, 3101 Johnson Road, Petersburg, Virginia 23805

Congressman McEachin Introduced Disabled Access Credit Expansion Act

WASHINGTON – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), a co-chair of the Reinvesting in our Returning Heroes task force, introduced the Disabled Access Credit Expansion (DACE) Act to assist small business owners comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), aiming to expand access and job opportunities for disabled Americans.

Currently, small businesses can receive a tax credit worth 50 percent of costs incurred to meet accessibility requirements under the ADA, up to a limit of $10,250. The DACE Act incentivizes proactive ADA compliance for small business owners by doubling the maximum allowable credit, which will reduce their liability and increase their ability to employ individuals with disabilities, including veterans.

“I introduced the DACE Act to help veterans and others with disabilities, while also helping small business owners make necessary structural improvements under the ADA—changes that will enable them to employ, and serve, more individuals with disabilities,” said Congressman Donald McEachin. “Unfortunately, far too many of our dedicated servicemembers come home with permanent injuries. As our returning veterans transition to civilian life, we need to do more to help them find well-paying jobs and continue to support themselves and their families. Enabling businesses to more easily hire these veterans, and any American who wants to work, is one of the best steps we can take.”

“Our veterans bring unique skills and experiences to the workforce and it is our duty to ensure that they have every opportunity while transitioning back to civilian life and finding meaningful employment,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx). “Congressman McEachin’s Disabled Access Credit Expansion Act will give veterans with disabilities the opportunity to secure well-paying jobs while providing incentives to our nation’s small businesses. I am proud to join him and my colleagues in this effort to help our veteran communities transition to the civilian workforce.” 

“The Disabled Access Credit Expansion Act led by Congressman Donald McEachin reinforces House Democrats’ commitment to improve access for Americans with disabilities,” said House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Linda Sánchez (CA-38). “I am proud to join with members of the Democratic Caucus Jobs for America Task Force to introduce legislation that helps America’s small businesses comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and increases access for people with disabilities and veterans.”

The Disabled Access Credit Expansion (DACE) Act would:

  • Increase the maximum eligible expenses to $20,500;
  • Double the maximum possible credit for small business owners from $5,000 to $10,125;
  • Make the credit more widely available by expanding the definition of “small business” to include companies with income of $2.5 million or less; and
  • Index the updated maximum eligible expenses to keep pace with inflation.

“In light of legislative efforts like H.R. 620, it is more important than ever that we champion basic fairness and equal access,”said Congressman McEachin. “My bill takes a better path, helping not just people with disabilities, but our hardworking small business owners.”

This bill is endorsed by Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). Full bill text is available here.

Virginia Department of Health to Receive $2+ Million for HIV Programs

Richmond, Va. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced that the Virginia Department of Health will receive $2,070,445.00 in grant funding to support their Integrated HIV Surveillance and Prevention programs.

“In the midst of STD Awareness Month, I am so pleased to see this grant funding awarded to the health department so that we may increase awareness and stress the importance of prevention,”said Congressman Donald McEachin. “Prevention is a key element in the successful fight against a disease. With this funding, Virginians will be able to better protect themselves and their family, which will save lives and money in the future.”

The Virginia Department of Health will receive this grant from the National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STDs and TB Prevention, housed under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

McEachin Announces Beginning of 2018 Congressional Art Competition

Richmond, Va. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) calls on high school students to begin submitting their best works of art for consideration in the 4th Congressional District’s 2018 Congressional Art Competition.

“I am incredibly proud of Jada Epps each time I walk past her 2017 first place drawingon display in the U.S. Capitol. I look forward to seeing the art that will represent our district next,”said Congressman Donald McEachin.

All students who live in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District attending school in grades 9 - 12 are invited to submit original artwork in concept, design and execution in the 2018 Congressional Art Competition. Artwork must be two-dimensional, weigh no more than 15 pounds, but may be in any medium (paintings, drawings, collages, prints, photography, graphic design, etc.). Students, parents and teachers can find complete rules for entry here. All submissions must be received before 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 27, 2018.

For questions or more information about the competition, please contact Elizabeth Hardin at (804) 486-1840.

Activists Oppose Drilling Off Virginia’s Coast

    

    

Business, military, fishing and environmental leaders unite at the Four Points hotel by the Sheraton Richmond Airport to publicly oppose allowing oil and gas development off of Virginia’s coast as the Trump Administration’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management holds one of its first public hearings in Richmond. This opposition is joined by growing bi-partisan calls from Virginia leaders, including Governor Ralph Northam, Senator Tim Kaine and Congressman Scott Taylor, to remove Virginia from this newly proposed oil and gas leasing program.

By Brandon Celentano, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — About 75 people, including activists and lawmakers, rallied Wednesday against the Trump administration’s plan to allow drilling off Virginia’s coast, saying it would endanger the environment, the economy and military readiness.

The group held a press conference before the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s public hearing in Richmond on the issue. At the meeting, environmental and business leaders urged the agency to abandon the plan.

“We are here today to protect our waters, the Virginia coast and Atlantic Ocean from dangerous oil and gas development,” said Karen Forget, executive director of Lynnhaven River Now in Virginia Beach. “We’re here to make our voices loud and clear that we do not think offshore drilling is good for Virginia.”

U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin, a Democrat representing Virginia’s 4th Congressional District, said he was honored to speak alongside state officials, environmentalists and retired military and business leaders to express opposition to offshore drilling.

“The Trump administration’s decision to push for drilling in more than 90 percent of our nation’s coastal waters, including off the coast of our beautiful commonwealth, poses serious dangers to our economy and our environment,” McEachin said. “As we learned from the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, accidents can be unimaginably destructive, devastating the marine environment and potentially affecting the health of local residents.”

McEachin said an oil spill would have disastrous consequences for communities along the coast and around the Chesapeake Bay. Coastal fisheries, tourism and recreation support 91,000 jobs in Virginia and represent almost $5 billion of the state’s economy, he said.

Even without a spill, oil exploration alone would be damaging, according to Susan Barco, the research coordinator and senior scientist at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach.

“One of the tools they use is seismic testing, and that would occur regardless of if there is a spill or drilling for that matter,” Barco said. “Seismic testing produces very, very loud sounds in the ocean in order to understand what is below the strata or layers at the bottom of the ocean. Those sounds are very likely to negatively impact a lot of animals, particularly marine mammals.”

McEachin said the U.S. Defense Department has twice concluded that drilling off Virginia’s coast would compromise the Navy’s ability to effectively operate and train and that this would effectively reduce military readiness and compromise national security.

Gov. Ralph Northam and members of Congress from Virginia’s coastal areas, both Republicans and Democrats, oppose the U.S. Interior Department’s offshore drilling plan. Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms, a Republican, alsoopposes it.

Wednesday’s meeting at a hotel near Richmond International Airport was the only public hearing that the federal government plans to hold in Virginia to discuss the offshore drilling plan. That irked Northam.

“If the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management doesn’t hold additional hearings in the Tidewater region, I will be one of the few people from a Virginia coastal community who has had the opportunity to share my opposition to the administration’s plan to put our economy, environment, national security, and the health and safety of our residents at risk,” Northam said.

The Democratic governor said he will use every tool he can use to make sure no drilling happens off Virginia’s coast.

Rep. McEachin Announces $2.2M+ Grant for Virginia Department of Health

WASHINGTON – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announcedthat the Virginia Department of Health was awarded a $2,285,039.00 Maternal and Child Health Services Grant (MCH) by the Health Resources and Services Administration, to fund access to quality care for women and children in Virginia.

“I am pleased to see this funding awarded to the women and children of Virginia,” said Congressman Donald McEachin (VA-04). “This grant will provide access to high-quality, affordable care for some women and children who might otherwise have lacked the care they need. This funding will help create a healthier, happier, safer Commonwealth.”

The MCH grant is a Title V block grant that runs through September 2019. The funds are typically allocated to improve access to prenatal and postnatal care, reduce infant mortality, and increase health assessments and preventative care for children.

Congressman McEachin has made the health and well-being of women and children a priority. Rep. McEachin is an original co-sponsor of the Healthy MOM Act (H.R. 2745), recognizing the immediate need, cost-reducing benefits, and lifesaving nature of being able to enroll in a healthcare plan from the moment pregnancy beings. He is also a co-sponsor of the Child Care for Working Families Act (H.R. 3773), which promotes child care and early learning.

McEachin, Costello, Evans, Ryan Introduce Bipartisan Bill to End Food Deserts

The “Healthy Food Access for all Americans Act” would incentivize food providers to expand access to healthy foods in underserved communities 

WASHINGTON – Congressmen A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), Ryan Costello (PA-06), Dwight Evans (PA-02) and Tim Ryan (OH-13) co-introduced the bipartisan Healthy Food Access for all Americans Act (HFAAA) to increase access to fresh produce available in low-income and rural areas of America.

“Every person, regardless of where he or she lives, deserves access to nutritious, affordable food, yet thousands of families in my congressional district live in areas where food access is a problem. I am committed to addressing hunger and food insecurity, which is why I introduced the Healthy Food Access for all Americans Act with my colleagues,” said Congressman Donald McEachin. “By creating incentives for food providers to establish themselves in communities without access to fresh foods, this commonsense bill will help my constituents secure healthier food options for themselves and their families. We must do everything we can to eliminate food deserts.”

The bicameral, bipartisan HFAAA would create a system of tax credits and grants for businesses and nonprofits who serve low-income and low-access urban and rural areas. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), an estimated 37 million Americans live in a food desert. (*See chart below for data on food deserts in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District.)

"Access to nutritious food should be an important aspect of every life” said Congressman Costello. “Under this legislation, grocery stores, farmers markets, and food banks that provide fresh, healthy foods would be encouraged to open, offer a permanent presence, or make renovations to their stores in underserved areas. Nutritious foods are linked to positive health outcomes, and this legislation is a step forward in making sure families can access the nutrients and food they need to be successful.”

“I truly believe when we change the narrative as it relates to healthy food options and provide greater access to nutritious food choices we can move the needle in terms of getting rid of food deserts, something I’ve focused a great deal of my time on throughout my entire career.  This bill is an example of a way to use the tax code to incentivize food merchants to help close the grocery store gap and change behaviors. We know diet-related diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and others, have a direct correlation to the foods we eat and to critical nutrients missing from our diets. Today, I am proud to stand with my colleagues to introduce the Healthy Food Access for All Americans (HFAAA) Act. HFAAA is one of the tools in our toolbox that we can use to build healthier neighborhoods, block by block,” said Congressman Evans.

“Our food system is broken and ineffective. In a country where obesity and diabetes rates are skyrocketing, and where 37 million people live in food deserts, we cannot allow the status quo to continue. We must find new ways for all Americans to have access to fresh, healthy food. This legislation takes a big step in the right direction towards accomplishing that goal, and I’m proud to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle in both chambers of Congress to get this done. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it makes economic sense to tackle a food system that is at the root of so much of our sky-high healthcare costs,” said Congressman Ryan.

USDA defines a food desert as an area where a grocery store is not available within a mile in urban communities or 10 miles in rural areas; and defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. This bill expands on that definition by adding U.S. census tracts with a poverty rate of 20% (or higher) or a median family income of less than 80% of the median for the state or metro area. The legislation also defines a grocery market as a retail sales store with at least 35% of its selection (or forecasted selection) dedicated to selling fresh produce, poultry, dairy, and deli items.

Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced a similar version of the HFAAA in August; Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) signed as a co-sponsor since the bill was introduced.

Full bill text is available here and bill summary is available here. For a map of areas in the United States that would qualify to be served as food deserts under this bill, click here.  

NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS WHO LIVE IN FOOD DESERTS, AS DEFINED BY USDA

(The listed localities are included in the 4th Congressional District)

 

Virginia Locality

# of Residents

Chesapeake

12,198

Chesterfield

14,188

Colonial Heights

2,629

Dinwiddie

5,720

Henrico

37,342

Hopewell

12,120

Petersburg

15,759

Prince George

8,543

Richmond City

60,545

Southampton

7,958

Suffolk

4,795

Sussex

6,377

 

*The population of Virginians who live in food deserts as defined in this bill.

McEachin Announced 2017 Congressional App Challenge

RICHMOND –Congressman A. Donald McEachin is accepting applications for the 2017 Congressional App Challenge until November 1, 2017.

“This annual competition provides students of all ages with a fantastic opportunity to use their STEM-related education to develop the potentially next best app,” said Congressman Donald McEachin. “I encourage every qualified student to use their creativity to develop a groundbreaking app that will represent the best congressional district in America.”

The winner’s app will be on display in the U.S. Capitol Building along with other honorees from across the country.

All students who live or attend school in the 4th Congressional District qualify to participate in this year’s competition. Students of all experience levels are encouraged to compete. There is no minimum age for participation. Any students interested in entering the competition should visit: http://www.congressionalappchallenge.us/.

Students, teachers, and parents with questions about the competition can contact Congressman McEachin’s Central Virginia office at (804) 486–1840.

Congressman McEachin to visit Emporia

RICHMOND – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) will host two Coffee with Your Congressman events to meet with constituents, hear their concerns, chat about issues, and inform them about what federal and local services are available through his office.

Emporia Coffee with Your Congressman

When: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 from 4:30p.m. to 6:00p.m.

Where:Cafe Cuisine

321 Halifax Street

Emporia, Virginia 23847

Hopewell / Prince George Coffee with Your Congressman

When: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 from 5:00p.m. to 6:30p.m.

Where:The Beacon Theatre

401 North Main Street

Hopewell, Virginia 23860

Brat, McEachin highlight importance of bipartisanship

By Coleman Jennings, VCU Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Though they come from different sides of the aisle, two Virginia congressmen came together for a moderated discussion on entrepreneurship and economic growth. U.S. Reps. Dave Brat, a Republican from Glen Allen, and A. Donald McEachin, a Democrat from Richmond, highlighted the importance of bipartisan cooperation in moving Virginia and the nation forward.

While Brat and McEachin disagreed over issues such as health care, they found common ground in supporting broadband service in rural areas and deregulation that will stimulate business growth.

“If you don’t have internet, you can forget about bringing jobs in,” McEachin, who was elected last fall, told the approximately 80 people who attended Thursday’s forum, which was sponsored by the Urban League of Greater Richmond Young Professionals.

Brat, a tea party stalwart who advocates for limited government, agreed that expanding infrastructure is important for business growth. “I’m trying to be as pro-business as I can on every policy I’m for,” he said at the event, held at the Richmond Times-Dispatch building.

Although the officeholders were cordial and friendly to each other, such sentiments were not shared by some members of the audience. About a dozenmembers of the audience jeered at Brat, frequently interrupting his answers with scoffs. A small group in attendance continually raised red index cards every time Brat said something they didn’t like.

The topics for discussion were prepared beforehand and presented by the moderator T. Otey Smith, a principal of RLJ Equity Partners in Bethesda, Md. Each congressman was given about three minutes to give his take on the given question.

The two men may not often see eye to eye on certain issues. But on Thursday night, they frequently agreed on certain aspects of the discussion and exchanged encouraging words on topics where they shared similarities.

The discussion was not without its disagreements. One that stood out was health care. McEachin supported former President Barrack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. “Obamacare didn’t do everything right, but all the problems in the health-care system were not created by Obamacare either,” McEachin said.

He criticized President Donald Trump and other Republican officials for their vow to repeal and replace Obamacare. “They don’t have a lot of places to go to fix our health-care system and make it look different from Obamacare.”

Brat started off by calling Obamacare “in the ditch,” saying it “focused on coverage up front and paid no attention to price – prices have gone up 105 percent under Obamacare.” Brat is in favor in delegating health-care coverage to the states rather than having the federal government issue mandates.

“Politicians are not good at running things. Let’s bring that power down to the state level,” he said.

Brat represents Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, which stretches from Chesterfield County to Culpeper. As an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, he won the seat in 2014 by upsetting House Minority Leader Eric Cantor.

McEachin represents the 4th Congressional District, which includes Richmond, Petersburg and parts of Chesterfield and Henrico counties. An attorney, he previously served 17 years in the Virginia General Assembly.

After the hourlong discussion, both men shook hands and stayed around to talk to constituents. Some attendees said the respect Brat and McEachin showed for each other provided a model for other members of Congress.

“I think bipartisanship is key, especially in a time like this,” said Mark Stafford, a resident of Brat’s district. “I don’t want to watch my country waste away.”

VA MEMBERS URGE CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP TO TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT MINERS BEFORE HEALTHCARE BENEFITS EXPIRE

~ An estimated 10,000 retired coal miners in Virginia are at risk of losing health and retirement benefits in the coming years ~

WASHINGTON – In a letter today, Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, and Reps. Gerry Connolly, A. Donald McEachin, and Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (all D-VA) urged Congressional leaders to take action to protect retired coal miners who risk losing their healthcare benefits as part of negotiations to keep the government funded before the end of the week. Last year, Congress reached a deal to extend government funding and retired miners’ health care benefits until April 28th. In March, retired coal miners and their families began receiving letters notifying them of the impending termination of their health care coverage. 

“This nation was built on the backs of our workers. Let us not forsake them. We implore you to immediately pass a permanent health care fix for the miners and commit to working with us to finding and passing a solution for the imperiled 1974 Pension Fund,” the members wrote.

Retired miners are facing uncertainty because the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) 1974 Pension Plan is severely underfunded, still reeling from the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and a series of bankruptcies in the coal industry.

The Virginia Congressional members pressed for the inclusion in negotiations of the Miners Protection Act, bipartisan legislation which would transfer federal funds to shore up the underfunded health insurance and pension plan.

“Anything less is merely an extension of the ongoing uncertainty and agony that these men and women have been carrying for years. Anything less is an unacceptable and tragic failure of this body to keep its word to the men and women who powered our nation to prosperity at the risk of their own health and lives,” the members added.

Full text of the letter can be found here and below.

April 25, 2017

The Honorable Mitch McConnell                              
Senate Majority Leader                                               
The Capitol S-230                                                       
Washington, DC 20510                                              

The Honorable Chuck Schumer

Senate Minority Leader
The Capitol S-221
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Paul Ryan                                          
Speaker of the House of Representatives                   
The Capitol H-232                                                      
Washington, DC 20515                                              

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi  
House Minority Leader
The Capitol H-204
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan, and Leader Pelosi,

As you know, at the expiration of the current continuing resolution, 22,600 of our nation’s retired coal miners will lose their healthcare benefits.  In March, these miners received letters notifying them of this impending termination and, sadly, it is not the first such letter they have received.  

Virginia is home to nearly 10,000 UMWA beneficiaries whose benefits are at risk in the coming years, many of whom will soon suffer the anguish and fear that comes with the loss of these life-saving benefits. 

While the continuing resolution included a four-month extension of benefits, it did so using remaining funds in the existing Voluntary Employee’s Beneficiary Association (VEBA) plans.  The “extension” was essentially a transfer of funds already belonging to these miners.  In fact, it shortened the timeline for 6,500 of these miners who would have otherwise received healthcare benefits through July.  Additionally, the pension fund that these miners and their widows rely on for life’s basic necessities will reach the point of no return this year if Congress does not act to shore it up.

This bill is simple – it is the continuation of a longstanding commitment by our government to lifetime health and retirement benefits for our miners.  The Krug-Lewis Agreement was signed in 1946 at the White House in front of President Truman by UMWA president John L. Lewis and Secretary of the Interior Julius Krug.  While the agreement itself was not drafted in perpetuity, Congress essentially codified the promises made in that agreement by subsequently passing the Coal Act. 

The Coal Act and its 2006 amendments re-committed the government to the health and retirement security of our nation’s miners and their families.  In fact, prior to passage of the 1992 Coal Act, the Dole Commission (appointed by President George H.W. Bush) issued a report stating that, “The UMWA Health and Retirement Funds is as much a creature of government as it is of collective bargaining. There is a line running from the original Boone Report to the present system. In a way, the original Krug-Lewis agreement predisposed, if not predetermined, the system that evolved.” 

The Miners Protection Act is a responsible, bipartisan solution to an immediate problem that is fully offset and has gone through regular order.  As Congress considers a continuing resolution to keep the government running, we fully expect that such a vehicle will include the permanent health care fix for our nation’s retired miners as promised at the end of 2016 and proposed in the Miner’s Protection Act.

Anything less is merely an extension of the ongoing uncertainty and agony that these men and women have been carrying for years.  Anything less is an unacceptable and tragic failure of this body to keep its word to the men and women who powered our nation to prosperity at the risk of their own health and lives. 

This nation was built on the backs of our workers.  Let us not forsake them.  We implore you to immediately pass a permanent health care fix for the miners and commit to working with us to finding and passing a solution for the imperiled 1974 Pension Fund.

Sincerely,                                                                                                                  

Mark R. Warner                                                        
United States Senator            

Tim Kaine
United States Senator

Gerry Connolly
United States Representative

A. Donald McEachin  
United States Representative

Robert C. “Bobby” Scott
United States Representative 

Platt Urges Democrats to get behind McEachin K-12 Education Bill

“63 years after we outlawed unequal facilities, the average Virginia child is going to an obsolete K-12 facility according to national standards. This isn’t the equality we should be looking for!”

Great Falls, Virginia -- Democrat Susan Platt, a candidate for Lt. Governor in the June 13 primary, called on fellow Democrats “to get behind the potentially game-changing K-12 facility legislation being championed by Democratic Congressman Don McEachin.” The measure, H.R. 922 (a bill introduced in the House of Representatives last February), almost certainly “is the best hope in Virginia history to enable localities to afford modernizing their oldest, undated facilities, a pre-requisite to the equal educational opportunity that Dr. King wanted for our children, that Democrats have long promised the working families of Virginia” said Platt.

In 2013, then Governor Robert McDonnell order the state’s first-ever K-12 facility review. He found the results shocking. Besides obsolete nature of the average facility, upwards of 40% of Virginia’s K-12 buildings were sufficiently aged to be considered as “historic” structures under federal and state law.

McEachin’s legislation addresses an unintended anti-education bias in federal law. In 1986, Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker “Tip” O’Neill created the “federal rehabilitation tax credit.” It incentivized modernization of buildings sufficiently aged to qualify as historic under the law. But the IRS code contained unappreciated legalese buried in arcane bureaucratese.

Platt said the Trump Hotel project in Washington provides an easily understood explanation. The Trump Organization modernized a government owned building – the old DC Post Office – into a new Hotel use pursuant to a long-term lease. This enabled the project to take advantage of beneficial “federal rehabilitation tax credit” financing. However, because a local K-12 facility modernization project aims to keep the same use – a local school – it runs afoul of the so-called “prior use” rule. The “prior use” rule says this financing is barred when the post-modernization usage remains the same.

“This seeming little rule has a huge anti-education impact” said Platt. “Based on current law, it can drive up local school modernization costs by upwards of 33% or possibly even more here in Virginia depending on the particular circumstances of a project.”

From academia to Main Street, the 40,000 federal rehabilitation tax credit financed projects around the country have been widely praised.

“Every dollar saved in local construction costs is a dollar available to improve local instruction without raising local taxes or incurring more local debt.”

Platt pointed out that the Congressional Black Caucus presented Don’s bill to President Trump at their meeting last month.” “Dean Rozell of the George Mason School of Public Policy wrote an article on it, I recommend it to everyone.”

Platt applauded Congressman McEachin for his efforts.

“Education is the great equalizer, that’s what Dr. King said and he was so right,” pointed out Platt.

“Democratic leaders, and thus who want to be Democratic leaders, need to publicly support and get behind Don.”

The Brown decision was in 1954. After 63 years, “I think the children of Virginia have waited long enough” declared Platt.

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