After Texas Shooting, Virginia Gov. Youngkin Gets School Safety Briefings, Calls for More Money for School Resource Officers

Governor Glenn Youngkin met with three of his cabinet members on Wednesday after a mass shooter killed children on Tuesday at a Texas elementary school.

“This morning, Governor Youngkin received a briefing from Secretary Robert Mosier, Secretary Aimee Guidera, Secretary John Littel, and State Superintendent Jillian Balow about actions taken to protect children in schools and the resources available at the state level to provide mental health access as needed in response to yesterday’s tragedy in Uvalde, TX,” spokesperson Macaulay Porter said in a statement.

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Virginia’s General Assembly to Reconvene Budget Special Session June 1

The General Assembly will reconvene its special session on June 1, ahead of a June 30 deadline to complete the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Since the end of the session, budget negotiators have been tight-lipped about progress on a compromise, but have said they expect one in late May.

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Sec. of Finance Cummings Says Virginia Recovery Lags Behind Other Southern States

Virginia’s April revenues were strong, largely thanks to a shift in the tax due date, Secretary of Finance Stephen Cummings told the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday. He said Virginia is under-performing in recovery after the start of the pandemic compared to some southern states. Cummings downplayed concerns about a…

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Virginia’s April Revenues Up, Budget Compromise Expected by End of May

A new April revenue report shows that Virginia’s revenues have again exceeded forecasts. Governor Glenn Youngkin’s office published the report Thursday. He highlighted the good news to help make the case for a budget that includes broad tax relief and some additional spending, with behind-the-scenes budget negotiations ongoing.

“Virginia’s economy continues to show encouraging signs of growth. We’re growing jobs, growing paychecks, and more people are joining the workforce,” Youngkin said in a press release.

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Youngkin Celebrates First 100 Days in Office

Governor Glenn Youngkin is celebrating his first 100 days in office with a video highlighting key accomplishments including an executive order banning divisive concepts in schools; signing a bipartisan school mask mandate ban; bipartisan legislation protecting cats and dogs; and welcoming businesses to Virginia.

“It has been an honor to serve the people of Virginia over the first 100 days and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together in a short period of time. I will continue to work on behalf of all Virginians to lower the cost of living, keep our communities safe, make government work for the people again and restore academic excellence in our schools,” the governor said in a Thursday press release.

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Budget Compromise Not Expected in Time for Veto Session

Glenn Youngkin

The General Assembly will be back in town Wednesday to vote on Governor Glenn Youngkin’s amendments and vetoes to legislation passed earlier this year, but are unlikely to have a budget compromise ready for approval by then.

“Informally, the chairs are going back and forth a little bit, and we keep getting briefed, but we have not really gotten to a point where we can do a final negotiation, if you will. There’s still significant differences there in what we we’re working on,” conferee Senator Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) told The Virginia Star on Thursday. “We’ve got some tentative agreements, I guess you’d say.

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Virginia’s General Fund Revenue in March 22.3 Percent Higher Than March 2021

Virginia’s General Fund revenue in March was 22.3 percent higher than March 2021, and year-to-date growth from Fiscal Year 2021 to 2022 was at 14.5 percent, ahead of the 9.2 percent required to meet predictions. That’s good news for the governor, who is trying to sell legislators on a slate of tax cuts that will decrease Virginia’s revenues.

“This revenue report shows strong signs that Virginia is growing. I am encouraged by the strength we’re seeing in our economy when you look at steady job growth, wages rising and median family income increasing in the Commonwealth,” Youngkin said in a Thursday press release. “With this report confirming and exceeding our mid-session general fund forecast we continue to see evidence that there’s plenty of money in the system to provide critical tax cuts and needed relief for Virginians struggling with rising gas prices and record-high inflation on groceries and the products they need every day.”

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Youngkin Signs Hundreds of Bills Ahead of Monday Night Deadline

Glenn Youngkin

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed 700 bills into law according to a Monday afternoon announcement; Youngkin faced a deadline of April 11 to take action on bills passed at the end of the recent General Assembly session.

“Today marks another important step in a journey for the people of Virginia, one which started even before our nation’s founding. Every year the duly elected representatives of the people assemble to pass new laws on behalf of their constituencies, and I am honored to sign these 700 bills into law this year,” the governor said in the announcement.

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With Charter School Bills Dead, Virginia Republicans Turn to Lab Schools, but Democrats Are Wary

Governor Glenn Youngkin campaigned on creating 20 new charter schools in Virginia, but the Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee killed Republican-led charter school legislation. As a result, Republicans are pivoting to lab schools — schools that are part of the local district operated as partnerships with education programs at local higher ed institutions. Legislation to expand Virginia’s lab schools to institutions with programs beyond education is currently in conference committee with negotiators from the House of Delegates and the Senate to try to create a compromise to send to Youngkin.

“It’s going to be an opportunity for us to move some charter-schools-lite through,” House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore (R-Scott) told The Virginia Star during a discussion of top priorities at the beginning of the 2022 special session.

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Virginia State House Democrats Propose $50 Tax Rebate to Car Owners

The Virginia House Democrats announced a proposal to give a $50 tax rebate to Virginia car owners, up to $100 per househould — a counter-proposal to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s call for a months-long suspension of Virginia’s 26.2-cent gasoline tax.

“Unlike the plan proposed by Governor Youngkin and supported by Republican members of the General Assembly, the House Democratic plan will send funds directly to Virginia drivers and at less than one third of the cost,” the caucus said in a Friday press release. “Last week, Governor Youngkin said, ‘We can’t guarantee anything,’ when asked if his plan would pass savings to consumers. This matches criticism by legislators, business leaders, and economic experts who say that consumers would see little, if any, savings from such an action.”

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With No Budget Compromise Ready, General Assembly Meets and Adjourns Special Session for Now

RICHMOND, Virginia – The General Assembly met briefly on Monday afternoon after Governor Glenn Youngkin recalled them for a special session to complete and pass a budget compromise and finish other legislation. The legislators passed rules for the special session that allow them to adjourn until Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) or Senate Rules Committee Chair Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) recall the legislators with 48-hours’ notice. Then, since the budget compromise isn’t ready, the legislators adjourned.

“I was disappointed at the pace the work was going,” Youngkin told the media after a ceremonial bill signing on Monday morning. “I was disappointed there wasn’t more work last week. Everybody’s here today, and I expect them to get to work today. And I know that there are meetings that can be held, and should be held, and will be held. So it’s important to go ahead and get people back to work, and I think calling them back to special session is an important motivator to do that.”

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Youngkin Signs 45 Bills, Including Bill Closing Farm-Use Placard Loophole

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed 45 non-controversial bills on Friday, ahead of the General Assembly’s return to the capitol for a special session on Monday. Youngkin’s announcement highlighted bills to cut fees for sportsmen, increase law enforcement training to recognize human trafficking, and strengthen school safety audits.

“We are here to provide solutions to the problems that matter to Virginians and we are working every day to serve our parents and students, veterans and law enforcement,” Youngkin said in the press release. “I thank these bipartisan legislators for their ability to find common sense solutions for their constituents and the Commonwealth.”

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At Liberty University, Youngkin Calls for Christians to Serve in Politics and Internationally, and Pitches His Tax Relief

Governor Glenn Youngkin spoke at a Friday morning convocation at Liberty University. He told those in attendance that public service is a calling from God, and touched on policy issues including Ukraine, law enforcement, discussions of race in schools, and polarized two-party politics.

“It’s not an ‘or’ moment, it’s an ‘and’ moment. Today in America there are voices on the far left that so want to silence the voice on the right. They want to cancel conservative speakers on campuses. They want to silence voices who disagree with them,” he said.

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Youngkin Calls for Special Session to Begin April 4, Pressures Budget Negotiators with $150,000 March Madness TV Ad

Governor Glenn Youngkin is calling the General Assembly to convene for a special session on April 4 to finish work on the budget and other bills that were carried over at the end of the recent session. “Today I am calling back lawmakers to Richmond to finish their work. Between…

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Richmond Judge Approves Second Casino Referendum

A Richmond judge approved a second Richmond casino referendum, Mayor Levar Stoney announced Monday.

“Today is a good day in the City of Richmond because our residents have an opportunity to vote in November for 1500 good-paying jobs and tax relief with the One Casino + Resort referendum being back on the table thanks in part to the recent certification by the Virginia Lottery and the subsequent ruling by Richmond Circuit Court today,” Stoney said in a press release.

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Governor Youngkin Says New Report Shows That Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Is Carbon Tax Passed on to Consumers

Glenn Youngkin

Governor Glenn Youngkin is trying to withdraw Virginia from participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI,) and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) published a Youngkin-ordered report on the program, which requires utilities to bid on carbon dioxide allowances.

“Costs are soaring for Virginia families and as governor, I pledged to address over taxation and Virginia’s high cost of living. That’s why I signed Executive Order Nine to direct DEQ to examine the impact of RGGI and start the process of ending Virginia’s participation. This report reveals that RGGI is in reality a carbon tax passed on to families, individuals and businesses throughout the Commonwealth – it’s a bad deal for Virginians,” Youngkin said in a press release Tuesday.

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Virginia General Assembly Session Adjourns but Will Come Back for Special Session to Finalize Budget, Other Legislation

RICHMOND, Virginia – The General Assembly adjourned its 2022 regular session on Saturday, but Governor Glenn Youngkin is expected to call a special session to complete compromises on a number of bills, including the budget. The budget is the only essential piece of legislation on the list, with a gap between more tax relief in the House proposal and more spending in the Senate proposal.

“I’m pleased by the progress that’s been made in the last couple of days on the budget. And actually I want to thank our legislators on both sides of the aisle for the really good work that they’ve done in the session to date,” Youngkin said in a brief press conference on Saturday afternoon.

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As Budget Negotiations Continue, Gov. Youngkin and Virginia Legislators Make Last-Minute Pitch for Pet Proposals

As legislators work towards a budget compromise balancing increased spending with revenue losses from tax cuts, Governor Glenn Youngkin and legislators are continuing to argue for their positions.

“The idea that we have to choose between tax relief and our shared priorities is a false choice. It is critical that we do our part to reduce the tax burden on our citizens, particularly at a time when present receipts continue to be as robust as they are,” Youngkin wrote in a Wednesday Richmond Times-Dispatch column.

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With Tight Schedule, Virginia Budget Compromise May Not Be Ready for Weekend Vote, Which Would Force General Assembly Session Extension

RICHMOND, Virginia – Legislators are meeting in behind-the-scenes meetings to try to finalize a budget compromise before the General Assembly is set to adjourn on Saturday, but are divided by a House of Delegates desire for substantial tax cuts and a Senate desire for higher state employee salaries plus a desire to preserve more future tax revenues. House Appropriations Chair Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) said that negotiations may take too long to have a compromise ready for a weekend vote, although he emphasized that his Senate counterparts including Finance Chair Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) are cooperating in good faith.

“I think with the time constraints that we have, with the two bodies doing our business, I’m not sure we’re going to make it,” Knight told reporters on Tuesday.

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Virginia Gov. Youngkin Reiterates His Budget Priorities in New Letter to Money Legislators

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.

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Senate Finance Adds Contingency Clause to House Bills; House Subcommittee Recommends Killing Two Constitutional Amendments; Plexiglass Gone from the Senate

RICHMOND, Virginia – As the legislature approaches its March 12 adjournment, legislators are working on budget negotiations, wrapping up their consideration of other bills, and continuing to return to pre-COVID-19 operations.

On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee advanced a number of bills from the House of Delegates, but at the beginning of the meeting Committee Chair Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) warned that the committee would add a financial contingency clause to several of the bills that aren’t currently funded in budget proposals. Health and Human Resources Subcommittee Chair Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) presented the subcommittee’s report on many bills.

Addressing Howell, he said, “We had the issue that you referred to as you began the meeting where on a number of them, there was not an allocation of funds coming from the House. So, we’re going to have, obviously, resource issues as we enter conference in terms of whether or not we can support all these good ideas that we’re going to advance today with the clause.”

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State Sen. Chase Presents Data About 2020 Election to Virginia Attorney General Miyares’ Office; Republicans and Democrats Kill Her Effort to Fund a Full Forensic Audit of the Election

Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) told senators Thursday that she had delivered information about the 2020 election to Attorney General Jason Miyares’ office on Tuesday. She pushed several budget amendment that would have spent millions of dollars on investigations both into the 2020 election and on future elections, but her amendments received vigorous opposition from Democrats and feeble support from Republicans.

“We presented quite a bit of data and information, our team did, to the attorney general’s office the day before yesterday, and one of their comments was that they need more time and more resources to do that investigation,” Chase said during debate over budget amendments.

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Virginia House of Delegates, Senate Pass Budget Bills with Competing Tax Policy

RICHMOND, Virginia – The House of Delegates and the Senate have passed their separate budget proposals for Fiscal Year 2022 and 2023. Both chambers debated floor amendments to the bills on Thursday before passing them, but the final versions are broadly similar to the proposals announced earlier this week. Each chamber’s proposal is based on former Governor Ralph Northam’s budget proposal, but the money committees made significant amendments before sending them to be passed out of the House and Senate. The Senate bill contains fewer tax cuts than the House bill, allowing for more spending, while the House bill is closer to the tax policy Governor Glenn Youngkin has called for. The two chambers now enter a process of working to a compromise.

Senate Finance Chair Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) told the Senate that the proposal fulfilled promises made amid spending cuts during earlier hard times.

“In this budget we’ve done that, by making significant investments in education, natural resources,  public safety, and human services. We’re also chipping away a funding cap on support positions for K-12 education over both years of the biennium, embracing increased teacher and state employee pay, and adding to those compensation increases a one-time bonuses for teachers and state employees,” Howell said.

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Virginia Senate Kill Key House Republican Bills, but Some Policies Have a Chance in the Budget

Democrat-controlled Senate committees have been killing House Republican bills, blocking policy changes on elections, guns, and the environment. More bills on education, abortion, and taxes are set to be heard in committees that have already killed similar Senate bills. However, even if those bills are killed, some of them still have a chance to be included in the budget.

“There’s still a lot of time left, we got the budget document we’re working on. A lot of our funding opportunities are in the budget,” House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City) told The Virginia Star. “A lot of these bills that we’re talking about are in the budget. We took out RGGI [Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative] in our budget.”

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Senate Budget Amendment Would Block Richmond’s Second Attempt to Get a Casino

The Senate Finance Committee killed a bill that would have blocked the City of Richmond from holding another casino referendum, after voters voted against a casino proposal in 2021. The bill would have granted the opportunity to build the casino to nearby Petersburg instead, and some committee members expressed a desire to study the potential implications of a Petersburg casino. The February 10 vote against the bill left the door open for Richmond to try again, and take the last of five casino licenses in Virginia. Now, Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) is pushing to block Richmond through a budget amendment.

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Senate Majority Leader Saslaw Spars with Secretary of Finance Cummings over Administration Analysis That Virginia Is Lagging Economically

Secretary of Finance Stephen Cummings told the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee on Tuesday that while General Fund revenues are performing well, there is an overall lack of economic growth in Virginia. That’s similar to the message from a letter Governor Glenn Youngkin sent to the Senate Finance and House Appropriations chairs last Friday. Tuesday’s discussion between Democratic senators and Cummings illustrated the policy divide on finance between the administration and the Senate.

Cummings said that January 2022 was the sixth consecutive month of revenues exceeding the prior year by more than 15 percent. “So, pretty remarkable times,” Cummings said.

“Obviously, the extraordinary level of revenues for the government is great, but that does not indicate success in our economy,” Cummings said. “It’s the result of external factors, and in our opinion, taxes that are too high.”

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Virginia Senate, House of Delegates Reveal Budget Proposals; Senate Doesn’t Include as Many Tax Cuts as Youngkin Wants

The House and Senate money committees presented their biennial budget proposals on Sunday afternoon in preparation for passage later this week. Both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Appropriations Committee included more than $2 billion in additional education spending when compared to previous years, a key goal of Governor Glenn Youngkin. But differing amounts of tax cuts drew Youngkin’s attention. In separate legislation, the House has already approved Youngkin’s tax cuts and refunds, but the Senate has rejected or pared down some cuts.

“The House budget provides nearly $5.3 billion in tax relief for all Virginians – including significant tax relief for our military veterans and common sense tax relief worth $1,500 to a typical Virginia family in the first year. This represents the priorities I outlined in the Day One Game Plan Virginians voted for last November. Speaker Gilbert and Chairman Knight have delivered on our shared promises,” Youngkin said in a Sunday afternoon press release. “While it does not include nearly enough tax relief, the Senate budget proposal also includes common sense, bipartisan priorities on which we can find common ground. I know Senator Howell and Senate Leadership are eager to work in good faith on these and other important priorities.”

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Youngkin Adds $1.25 Billion to FY 2022 Revenue Forecast, Asks General Assembly to Approve His Tax Proposals

Governor Glenn Youngkin asked the administration’s finance team to perform a mid-session review which added another $1.25 billion to the Fiscal Year 2022 revenue forecast. Youngkin highlighted the additional expected cash in a Friday letter to Virginia’s top money legislators as part of his push to save his broad tax reduction plan.

Youngkin wrote, “[T]he bottom line is taxes paid to the government are soaring and the revised revenue forecast estimates the Commonwealth will collect $1.25 billion more in the current fiscal year. That, of course, is on top of the additional $3.3 billion added to the original forecast last December. This is a staggering number, the largest mid-session re-forecast in anyone’s memory. The stunning amount of money being collected from taxpayers is the direct result of over taxation. Put simply, without significant tax relief, the Commonwealth’s general fund collections will grow by over 40 percent between 2018 and 2024.”

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Facing a Skeptical Senate, Youngkin Enlists Virginians to Pitch Tax Cuts to Legislators

CHESAPEAKE, Virginia – The day after celebrating his first major legislative win, Governor Glenn Youngkin is anticipating a bigger battle over the budget. On Thursday, he began touring Virginia to tout his tax reduction plans and enlist locals across the commonwealth in an effort to woo legislators. He made stops in Leesburg, Chesterfield, and Chesapeake.

“Now, because we are where we are in our legislative cycle, now there’s another three weeks or so of work to be done. And I need your help,” Youngkin said at his Chesapeake stop to an audience of local politicians and business leaders.

“I need you to talk to your elected representatives. Talk to your delegates. Call your senators. Send them a note. We need to cut taxes,” he said.

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Virginia General Assembly at Crossover: Republican House, Democratic Senate About to Clash over Budget, Conflicting Policy

Halfway through the 2022 Virginia General Assembly session, the House of Delegates has passed a wave of Republican reforms focusing on taxes, law enforcement, and education, while much of the Senate’s work has involved Democrats killing Republican bills in committee. The legislature has just passed crossover, when each chamber sends its finalized bills to the other chamber. Now, the chambers will clash over conflicting policy as they evaluate each other’s bills and work on the budget.

“[W]e ran on a platform that was informed by what voters told us they wanted the General Assembly to accomplish on their behalf in 2022. They wanted lower taxes and safer communities. They wanted parents involved in their child’s education, not boxed out,” a Tuesday House GOP release said.

“As the House completes its work on our legislative priorities, I’m pleased to report that we’ve accomplished what voters sent us here to do,” Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) said in the release.

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