As representatives from the General Assembly’s money committees begin work on a budget compromise, Governor Glenn Youngkin sent a letter to them reiterating his top priorities for the budget.
There’s a tension between the House of Delegates and the Senate proposals on how to spend revenue surplus and one-time resources. Both chambers’ proposals advance increased spending, but the House of Delegates prioritizes extensive tax cuts with more moderate new spending while the Senate includes more new spending but moderate cuts.
Youngkin’s priorities align more closely with the House bill, and in his Friday letter, he argued that Virginia’s financial position allows both for more spending in key areas and for extensive tax cuts, all while adding resources to Virginia’s rainy day fund.
“These priorities include supporting our schools and teachers with the largest education budget in Virginia’s history, providing more training and better equipment for law enforcement, expanded behavioral health programs, salary increases for state employees, law enforcement, and teachers, and the many other strategic programs identified by the General Assembly,” the governor wrote.
“Lastly, and very importantly, we are able to both return a meaningful portion of our unanticipated tax receipts and reduce go forward tax burdens for the citizens of Virginia,” he wrote.
Recent polling on tax policy shows different results. At the end of February, a Wason Center poll found limited public support for tax cuts, but a poll commissioned by the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) released Friday found broad support for tax cuts.
The poll cited Virginia’s $14 billion surplus, and presented two options:
“Give $5 billion dollars back to Virginians and invest the rest on law enforcement and education,” or “Spend the money on more government programs, creating long-term taxpayer obligations.”
68.2 percent of poll respondents chose the first option. The poll also found a 50.2 percent approval rate for Youngkin, and a 40 percent disapproval rate. McLaughlin and Associates conducted the poll on March 1 – 2. The poll has a sample size of 400 with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.9 percent.
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