SJR 91: Joint Subcommittee Studying Economic Incentives to Promote the Growth and Competitiveness of Virginia's Shipbuilding Industry

November 26, 2002

The joint subcommittee held its final meeting of the year on November 26. The subcommittee heard legislative recommendations for the 2003 Session of the General Assembly from representatives of Virginia's shipyard industries.

Labor Needs of Virginia's Shipyards

As has been stated in prior joint subcommittee meetings, there is a short supply of skilled labor that is trained to immediately step in and fill vacant positions in Virginia's shipyards. Shipyard representatives requested that the joint subcommittee seek legislation to fund scholarships for shipyard workers attending an apprenticeship program at Tidewater Community College.

The apprenticeship program was created during the 2001 Session of the General Assembly (HB 2121). The legislation establishing the program made funding of scholarships contingent upon an appropriation in the budget bill. Virginia's shipyards believe that funding of the scholarships will increase the number of students who may enroll in the apprenticeship program. As more students enroll in the program, there will be an increase in the number of skilled workers who can immediately fill employment needs in the shipyards.

Shipyard representatives asked for annual funding of $100,000 – $200,000. There was much discussion on alternatives for funding the scholarships that would not result in an increase in general fund appropriations.

Tax on Piers Situated above the Waters of the Commonwealth

Concern was expressed that the Commonwealth would begin to assess a tax on shipyard piers that extend over the waters of the Commonwealth. While not making a recommendation for legislation in regard to this possibility, shipyard representatives communicated their opposition to such a tax to the joint subcommittee.

Tipping Fees

Shipyard representatives also expressed concern that legislation may be introduced assessing a per tonnage fee on solid wastes deposited at Virginia's landfills. Legislation before the 2002 Session of the General Assembly (SB 592) would have assessed a $5 per ton fee on solid waste disposed of at Virginia's landfills. The bill was continued to 2003. Shipyard representatives expressed concern over the financial impact on the industry if such a tipping fee were established.

Continuation of the Joint Subcommittee

Recognizing the results achieved so far by the work of the subcommittee, shipyard representatives asked that legislation be introduced continuing the joint subcommittee.

The joint subcommittee took into consideration the recommendations presented. As a quorum was not present, no vote was taken on the recommendations.


The Hon. Thomas K. Norment, Jr.

For information, contact:

Mark Vucci
Division of Legislative Services


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