David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons

In 2018, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney (D) successfully lobbied for Virginia’s capital city to increase its meals tax to 7.5%.

The 25% tax increase imposed on anyone dining out came on top of the city’s combined sales tax of 6%.

Despite its status as a mid-size American city (albeit a hip one), taxes and living expenses make it hard for Richmonders making less than $3,000 a month to scrape by.

There’s a price to pay for Richmond’s thriving nightlife. And while Richmond’s cost of living expenses are lower than the United States’ most unaffordable cities, its combined meals tax is higher than both San Francisco’s and Seattle’s.

Across the Commonwealth, tax and cost of living increases are more and more problematic for voters. Residents in bedroom communities like Haymarket have increasingly felt the pinch in their wallets. For example, coffee shop patrons in Fredericksburg shell out an 11.3% tax on their caffè Americanos and cappuccinos.

That’s 2.4 percentage points higher than in New York City.

Indeed, a growing number of Virginia residents say that they don’t have enough money to support their families where they live.

Of course, that’s to say nothing of the dreaded car tax. Virginia Republicans have promised to do away with the highly controversial and unpopular before.

But like a B-horror movie villain, it simply won’t die. However, Youngkin has long championed tax cuts. At his “Day One Game Plan Announcement,” he called Virginia “California East,” thanks to the state’s Democratic leadership.

Although it varies by jurisdiction, the tax rate for most vehicles in the Commonwealth is roughly 4% of the gross sales price or $75, whichever is greater. The left’s quest to make Virginia a high tax state hurts even more when considering that the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) ranks Virginia 39th when measuring the value of $100 in all 50 states.

For the incoming Republican administration, the challenge is great. But so is the opportunity to expand their appeal to suburban voters.

From Gov.-elect Youngkin on down, the GOP says it’s determined to make sure the economy of Virginia is working for everyone.

Fox Business reports:

Youngkin, a longtime executive and former CEO at private equity firm The Carlyle Group, campaigned on promises to lower taxes and cut unnecessary business regulations. He has argued a rising cost of living has hurt the economy and driven many to leave the state.

“This is about government going to work for Virginians and getting our taxes down and making sure we have great schools and great jobs and safe communities,” Youngkin said during an Election Day appearance on Fox News Channel. “And it’s these issues that impact people’s lives every single day.”

Youngkin’s plan to lower the cost of living includes lower income taxes, a requirement of voter approval to raise property taxes, the elimination of Virginia’s grocery tax and a one-year suspension of a recent hike to its gas tax.

Youngkin asserts Democratic economic policies have killed job growth. He campaigned against business lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic and pledged to streamline or cut operational requirements for small businesses.

How confident are you that Republicans will capitalize on this opportunity ahead of the 2022 midterms? Tell us in the comments below, and while you’re at it, let us know how recent cost of living expenses have affected your financial security!