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Barbara Comstock's Telework Bill Heads to Senate

Virginia telework tax credit would provide $250 to employees who work remotely for at least 20 hours a week.

A bill by Vienna-area Del. Barbara Comstock (R-34th) to provide a tax credit for some teleworkers could soon become a reality after it passed the Virginia House this week and moves on to the Senate.

HB 1336, which was co-sponsored by Comstock and Del. David Ramadan (R-87th), would give residents who telework a minimum of 20 hours per week 45 weeks per year a $250 income tax credit.

The bill passed the house Monday on a 59-38 vote. Vienna Del. Mark Keam was among those who supported the proposal.

According to the bill, residents could apply for the credit through the Department of Taxation, which would issue the credits on a first-come, first-serve basis to employees who meet the requirements.

The department would be limited to no more than $1 million in tax credits in any fiscal year, or enough for 4,000 residents. 

If the bill passes the senate, employees could begin taking advantage of the credit for taxable years beginning this year through Jan. 1, 2018.

"Telework is a win-win solution for Northern Virginia workers and drivers. I look forward to continuing to promote the growth of telework as an option for small businesses, corporations and government alike," Comstock said, adding the credit would allow employees to better "set up a situation to work from home."

About 4.3 percent of all workers across the U.S. telecommute, according to the most recent U.S. Census data available from the American Community Survey.

In the DC area, about 23.5 percent of all regional workers said they telecommute either regularly or occasionally — which amounts to about 600,000 workers region-wide, according to a 2011 report from the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

The groups said they expect those numbers to grow in coming years.

Teleworking was suggested by experts this week as part of a solution to the area's growing traffic problem, on the heels of a report from the Texas Transportation Institute which ranked the DC area No. 1 in the nation in traffic and commuting times and costs.

How the bill will fare in the Senate is unclear: A similar bill introduced by Del. William Stanley Jr. (R-20th) — which proposed a $500 tax credit with a limit of $2 million — was indefinitely put on hold earlier this year by the Senate Finance Committee. 

How They Voted

See how your delegate voted on HB 1336:

YEAS--Albo, Anderson, BaCote, Bell, Robert B., Bulova, Byron, Cline, Cole,Comstock, Cox, M.K., Dudenhefer, Edmunds, Farrell, Filler-Corn, Greason,Habeeb, Head, Helsel, Hodges, Hugo, Iaquinto, Joannou, Johnson, Keam,Kilgore, LeMunyon, Lewis, Lingamfelter, Lopez, Loupassi, Marshall, R.G., Massie, May, Merricks, Miller, Minchew, O'Bannon, O'Quinn, Plum, Pogge, Poindexter,Purkey, Putney, Ramadan, Robinson, Rush, Rust, Scott, J.M., Sherwood, Stolle,Tata, Villanueva, Ware, O., Watson, Webert, Wilt, Yancey, Yost, Mr. Speaker--59.

NAYS--Bell, Richard P., Brink, Carr, Cox, J.A., Crockett-Stark, Dance, Fariss, Garrett, Gilbert, Herring, Hester, Hope, Ingram, James, Jones, Knight, Kory,Krupicka, Landes, Marshall, D.W., McClellan, McQuinn, Morefield, Morris,Morrissey, Orrock, Peace, Ransone, Scott, E.T., Sickles, Spruill, Surovell, Torian,Toscano, Tyler, Ware, R.L., Watts, Wright--38.

ABSTENTIONS--Cosgrove--1.

NOT VOTING--Howell, A.T., Ward--2.

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Richard Kane February 08, 2013 at 11:47 AM
I suppose I am wrong about this but the incentives for telework should be placed in the hands of the companies that allow their employees to telework. Being able to telework is an incentive in itself.
mary comerford March 03, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Del. Comstock criticized in Washington Post editorial for transportation vote: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/legislators-who-seem-to-like-being-stuck-in-traffic/2013/03/02/4e90ecd6-81f2-11e2-b99e-6baf4ebe42df_story.html

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