Tax break falls below pledge
Not all of Bob McDonnell's transportation proposals during the 2009 gubernatorial election involved ways of raising money to build roads.
He also said gridlock could be eased if more Virginians worked at home instead of commuting. And he promised tax incentives to encourage employers to set up telecommuting programs.
"As governor Bob McDonnell will build bipartisan consensus behind a plan to grant a tax credit to employers for expenses incurred in allowing employees to telework pursuant to a signed telework agreement," his campaign wrote in a July 21, 2009, news release.
McDonnell said the credit would equal 100 percent of the set-up costs to enable teleworking and that a portion of the credits would be reserved for employers who hire teleworkers in localities with high unemployment.
At McDonnell's urging in early 2011, the General Assembly passed legislation establishing a tax credit to help employers cover the purchase and installment costs of computers and high-speed Internet equipment in their teleworkers' homes.
The credit was capped at $1,200 for each teleworking employee and $50,000 for each company in 2012 and 2013. The credit could also go towards a maximum $20,000 in costs for employers to conduct studies into the feasibility of telework for their businesses.
The bill put a $1 million limit on the total amount of annual credits it would allow to all employers. If the total amount of credits sought exceeded $1 million, then the maximum tax incentives allowed would be pro-rated and reduced.
Early this year, McDonnell signed legislation that extended the tax credit through 2016.
Joel Davison, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Taxation said that for 2012 -- the only year for which figures are available -- 170 taxpayers requested credits totaling $4.3 million.
That means the maximum statewide credit allowed -- $1 million -- covered one-quarter of the tax breaks businesses sought, and the incentive approved had to be prorated. Of those 170 taxpayers, 44 requested the maximum credit of $50,000.
Davison noted the credits sought are based on anticipated expenditures and that the state won't know the actual amount businesses spent on teleworking arrangements until they file their 2012 tax returns early next year.
So McDonnell has urged and signed legislation establishing a telework tax credit. But the bills he endorsed did not contain key provisions in his campaign pledge -- that the tax credit would equal 100 percent of the set-up costs to enable teleworking and that a portion of the credits would be reserved for employers in areas of with unemployment.
The teleworking tax credit is not as large as McDonnell pledged, so we rate this a Compromise.
Bob McDonnell for governor, "McDonnell unveils comprehensive statewide transportation plan," July 21, 2009.
Gov. Bob McDonnell, "Governor McDonnell announces additional components of transportation agenda," Jan. 14, 2011.
Gov. Bob McDonnell, "Governor McDonnell signs legislation to make Virginia more competitive for high-tech jobs," May 29. 2012.
E-mail from Joel Davison, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Taxation, Nov. 20, 2012.
Legislative Information System, "HB 2197," accessed Nov. 16, 2012.
Department of Taxation, "2011 Fiscal impact statement of HB 2197," accessed Nov. 16, 2012.
Legislative Information System, "HB 551,"accessed Nov. 16, 2012.
Department of Taxation, "2012 fiscal impact statement for HB 551,"a accessed Nov. 16, 2012.
Virginia Department of Taxation, "What"s new for tax credits," accessed Nov. 16, 2012.
Virginia Department of Taxation, "Telework expenses tax credit reservation application," accessed Nov. 16, 2012.