After months of deliberations and threats from Senate Democrats to sink the entire budget, Virginia Republicans have successfully negotiated a budget bill.
House Speaker Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) issued the following words of praise for the work the House Republican Caucus did to push the Virginia state budget forward:
“The budget amendments we sent to Governor Youngkin are commendable in that they provide relief for Virginians struggling with rising costs of everyday expenses due to failed federal policies.
“And while it provides some help for hard-working Virginia families, it doesn’t do enough. Had Senate Democrats not been terrified of their primary voters, we could have made historic reforms to our income tax system that would have put more money back into the pockets of those who need it most. Those who make minimum wage don’t belong in Virginia’s highest tax bracket.
“Nonetheless, I am proud that our Republican conferees held firm on putting more money back into Virginians’ pockets and expanding the standard deduction. I specifically want to commend Delegates Karen Greenhalgh and John McGuire for their hard work to expand the tax break for retired veterans to all ages, a change long overdue to support those who served our country and Commonwealth.
“I look forward to working with Governor Youngkin and our Senate colleagues next year to craft a two-year budget that provides significant help for families dealing with skyrocketing costs.”
Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City) was pleased with what the budget accomplished for working class Virginians in the southwestern part of the Commonwealth:
“I want to thank our budget conferees for standing firm and ultimately prevailing on delivering tax relief for Virginians. The budget package that we passed today not only includes tax relief that should alleviate rising costs for families, veterans, and small businesses, but also makes significant investments to restore excellence in public education.
“I am especially pleased with the significant economic and workforce investments in Southwest Virginia. For instance, the budget includes $10 million for the engineering and design work needed to develop a new inland port in Southwest Virginia.
“Overall, an additional $200 million for business-ready site development will help Virginia become a more attractive destination for businesses to operate, grow, and create jobs for Virginians.”
Delegate Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) put the results for public education and tax relief front and center:
“I want to commend our entire House negotiating team for the hard work they did over the past few months. As this General Assembly comes to a close, I’m proud to say that we’ve put $10 billion in our public schools, the most in Virginia’s history, supported the highest-ever balance in our Rainy Day and reserve revenue funds, and more resources for water quality improvement than ever.
“We also secured $1 billion in tax relief for hard-working Virginia families, dedicating significant new resources to getting our children back on track after the pandemic, and bolstering our mental health system to get troubled Virginians the help they need when they need.”
Governor Glenn Youngkin was first out of the gate with a statement praising the hard work of House Republican conferees on the state budget:
“I appreciate the hard work of the General Assembly and our budget conferees to send a budget to my desk. While the process took longer than needed, more than $1 billion in tax relief is on the way to Virginia veterans, working families and businesses. Additionally, this collaborative effort ensured the funding of our shared priorities: investing in students and teachers, supporting our law enforcement community and transforming the way behavioral health care is delivered in the Commonwealth. There’s more work to be done, but I applaud the General Assembly for their work today.”
Initial details on the state budget deal include $155 million in new spending for state mental health, $645 million in direct funding to public education, increased oversight to state prisons in the wake of the parole board scandal, and most notable for Virginia families — the return of the popular state sales tax holiday.
Some other additional details from Brandon Jarvis at the Virginia Political Newsletter:
- one-time tax rebates of $200 for individuals and $400 for joint filers.
- an additional $500 tax deduction for single filers and $1,000 for joint filers, costing $48.1 million.
- $12.3 million for the Virginia Employment Commission.
- reinstates the back-to-school sales tax holiday – set to take place in October this year.
- Increases K-12 spending by nearly $650 million.
- $152 million for the state’s share in school support positions. This would increase the cap placed on funding for support positions in schools from 21 per 1000 students to 24. The cap was put into place during the great recession.
- 418 million for one-time payments to school divisions that legislators want to be used to address learning loss from Covid-19.
- A 2% pay raise for teachers at public schools and public colleges and universities.
- Behavioral health initiatives include funding for crisis receiving centers and crisis stabilization units.
- Continued funding for Virginia’s critical reinsurance program. Without this language in the budget, Virginia’s State Corporation Commission projected that premiums for individual insurance plans purchased on the exchange would have increased by an average of 28.4% in 2024.
- A 2% raise for state workers.
- $62.5 million for college financial aid.
- $30 million for Operation Ceasefire
Of course, Delegate Don Scott is none too pleased with the outcome, despite the fulsome (or falsetto?) praise of the Senate Democratic Caucus:
“The Republicans’ version of the bill included an amendment that would prevent the poorest women who experience tragic fetal abnormalities from having abortions. This was just another attempt to add an additional barrier for women in the Commonwealth to make it harder to access critical and often life-saving reproductive healthcare. To prevent these funds from being used for an abortion was the latest attempt by the Republicans to stand in the way of medical decisions that should be left to a woman and her doctor. There is more work to be done and Democrats are going to continue fighting to fully fund our schools and make Virginia an affordable place for families to thrive. At every turn we will stop the MAGA Republicans’ plans to give tax handouts to corporations as we did today.”