Chamber Receives Report on General Assembly Activities

Roll for a casino in Fairfax County?

Sen. Scott Surovel


“It was a session with a lot of changes,” said State Senator Scott Surovell speaking to the Mount Vernon Springfield Chamber of Commerce at the annual General Assembly Report business breakfast.

Surovell explained that the number of state senators and delegates who retired was unusually high. As a result, there were a lot of new people serving their first term in the General Assembly. He said that 25 percent of the General Assembly is now from a minority background.

“Going in as the Senate majority leader was a new experience for me,” Surovell said. “All those changes in both chambers was a very different vibe in Richmond.” He also mentioned that the number of vetoes by the Governor was unprecedented and did not lead to good will between the General Assembly and the Governor.

Surovell talked about some of the major legislation that came through both chambers saying, “The newspapers say all we talked about in Richmond was casinos and arenas. These issues dominated the news but were only a small part of what we did.”

Surovell talked about the benefit of having a casino in Fairfax County saying, “A casino coupled with a conference center in Tysons would be ideal.” He said such a development would generate tax and other revenues for Fairfax County equal to what is needed for education.

Delegate Paul Krizek talked about all the new things in this session including new districts and a new General Assembly Building that was “purpose” built and not just a reused office building as they had used in the past.

Krizek outlined his committee responsibilities and said, “I worked harder this session than all the eight sessions before.” Krizek talked about his work on gaming issues including limiting the use of skill games in small convenience stores.

“The horse racing industry in Virginia has really exploded in the last ten years,” said Krizek. He is working to help that industry and bring economic benefits to the surrounding areas.

Krizek also mentioned state grants for local nonprofits including the Gum Springs Museum and Historical Society that he was able to get through the budget and his work with tribal nations in Virginia.

Senator Dave Marsden’s new district includes much of Central Springfield and West Springfield. Marsden currently chairs the agriculture committee which, he says, deals mostly with environmental issues. 

“I didn’t plan on starting WWIII over proposing a casino bill,” said Marsden, who advocated for bringing a casino to Fairfax County. “Northern Virginia’s economy has been built on commercial real estate but covid has altered the basis of the economy.” He said that the commercial space in Tysons is currently 17 percent unleased and 50 percent unoccupied. County revenue from commercial property taxes has dropped significantly and will continue to drop over the next few years as leases are renewed.

Marsden continued explaining some of the changes such as a decline in Metro ridership. Metro was originally planned to operate with 60% of revenue from ridership and 40% from government subsidies. Currently it’s 15% ridership and 85% subsidies, which is not sustainable, he said.

“A casino is about the future of the community,” said Marsden.