With $3.2 Billion in Excess Cash, Youngkin Setting Aside $397 Million for Tax Relief Proposal in 2023

RICHMOND, Virginia — Governor Glenn Youngkin is directing $397 million in excess funds to be set aside for unspecified tax relief in 2023, as Virginia has $3.2 billion in excess cash — $2 billion in unplanned revenues plus Fiscal Year 2022 spending that was $1.2 billion less than planned.

“Today I formally report to the General Assembly that Virginia ended the fiscal year with a record general fund balance,” Youngkin said at a Friday morning joint meeting of the House of Delegates Finance and Appropriations Committees and the Senate Finance Committee.

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Youngkin Speaks at First Board of Education Meeting with Majority Youngkin-Appointed Members, Board Advances Lab Schools Planning

RICHMOND, Virginia – Governor Glenn Youngkin and First Lady Suzanne Youngkin made an unannounced appearance at the Virginia Board of Education meeting Wednesday, the first board meeting held with a majority of Youngkin-appointed members. The board is considering how to implement changes required by laws passed by the General Assembly while considering the administration’s priorities, including how to move forward with lab school expansion.

“We’ve accomplished a lot in the first seven months that I hope gives this group a great foundation. At the heart of it, the budget that I had the great privilege of signing this past June was exactly the budget that I think collectively, on a bipartisan basis, we hoped for in education. The largest education budget in the history of Virginia. An extraordinary investment in Virginia’s children. A ten percent raise for teachers. A thousand-dollar bonus. A $1.25 billion dollar capital foundation that supports well over $3 billion of investments into our schools, into the facilities themselves,” Youngkin said in remarks delivered to the board.

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Del. Anderson Revives Political Battle over Menhaden Reduction Fishing in the Chesapeake Bay

After dead menhaden fish washed ashore on Silver Beach in Northampton County on July 5, Delegate Tim Anderson (R-Virginia Beach) is reviving an old political battle over banning reduction fishing in the Chesapeake Bay.

“The menhaden issue predates our terms by decades, but the reality of the Chesapeake Bay is that we have one company in Virginia that is harvesting 100,000,000 pounds of menhaden fish from Virginia waters annually,” Anderson wrote in a Wednesday letter to Governor Glenn Youngkin.

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VA-02, 07, 10 Incumbents Hold Lead in Congressional Fundraising; Early Fundraising Gives Preview of Competitive 2023 General Assembly Primaries

Incumbents are leading in fundraising in Virginia’s competitive congressional races, according to new second-quarter reports; Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) has about $4.9 million cash on hand, Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA-02) has about $4.3 million cash on hand, and Representative Jennifer Wexton has about $3.6 million on hand. Luria’s Republican challenger State Senator Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach) has $413,279 cash on hand; Wexton’s challenger Hung Cao has $354,183 on hand, and Spanberger challenger Yesli Vega has $246,070, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

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LEGO Group Plans to Expand Production to U.S. with Virginia Factory

The LEGO Group announced plans to build a $1 billion factory in Chesterfield, Virginia, expanding the company’s production to the U.S. The company held a Wednesday press conference with Governor Glenn Youngkin, and executives are highlighting the 1,760 new jobs expected from the factory and an onsite solar plant that will provide all the energy needed by the factory.

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Virginia Budget Proposal Includes $3 Billion in Education Spending, Including Lab Schools

House Republicans are touting $3 billion of direct aid for education in the Fiscal Year 2023-2024 budget that Governor Glenn Youngkin is currently reviewing. Key education items include over $1 billion in grants and loans for school construction and modernization, and two five-percent raises for teachers and other state employees. It also includes $45 million for school resource officers.

House Appropriations Chair Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) said education spending in the budget is higher than pre-recession levels, even accounting for current inflation levels.

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Senate Minority Leader Saslaw Kills Washington Commanders Stadium Negotiations After Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio’s Comments About January 6

A bill to create an incentive to bring the Washington Commanders NFL team to Virginia is dead after months of accumulating concerns over tax breaks, traffic, the team’s brand quality, and its controversial leadership. On Thursday, bill sponsor Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax) told The Washington Post that the final issue was Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio’s comments about the January 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol.

Del Rio had tweeted about 2020’s “summer of riots,” and in followup comments recorded by NBC Washington, he said, “Businesses are being burned down. No problem. And then we have a dust-up at the Capitol, nothing burned down, and we’re not gonna talk about — we’re going to make that a major deal. I just think it’s kind of two standards.”

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State Senator Petersen Explains His Opposition to Washington Commanders Stadium Deal

In an appearance on 106.7 The Fan, State Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) expanded comments on his opposition to a Washington Commanders stadium authority bill. In a Wednesday press release, Petersen said he was concerned by traffic problems at a proposed Woodbridge site, but focused on the team’s recent move away from its controversial former name “Washington Redskins.”

“It’s not that I don’t like the new name,” Petersen told BMitch and Finlay Thursday. “I mean, I don’t care. The problem is the team has no brand, it has no identity. And you’re asking the Commonwealth of Virginia to enter a long-term economic relationship with a team that effectively has no brand.”

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Top Negotiators Del. Knight and Sen. Howell Announce Budget Deal to The Washington Post and The Richmond Times-Dispatch

After months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, General Assembly budget negotiators revealed details of a deal in a Thursday briefing with only reporters from The Washington Post and The Richmond Times-Dispatch. According to their reporting, the deal includes significant wins for both sides, including a major increase of the standard deduction but no gas tax holiday.

The private budget negotiations and the exclusive briefing are drawing criticism from Virginia reporters.

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Sen. Petersen Opposes Washington Commanders Stadium Deal Amid Concerns over Dropping ‘Redskins’ Name

Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) is opposed to efforts to bring the Washington Commanders football team to Virginia, in part due to concerns over the team’s recent name change.

“I have two concerns. One is that the development is too far removed from an urban setting, unlike Nats Park at The Navy Yard, which will make it solely dependent on vehicle traffic for access. More importantly, I don’t have confidence in The Washington Commanders as a viable NFL franchise,” Petersen said in Wednesday press release.

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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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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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Virginia Governor Youngkin Calls for Three-Month Gas Tax Holiday After Plan to Suspend Gas Tax Increase for a Year Fails

HENRICO, Virginia – Governor Glenn Youngkin announced Wednesday that he wants the General Assembly to pass a bill suspending Virginia’s 26.2 gas tax and 27-cent diesel tax for three months, spanning May, June, and July. That’s a pivot from his campaign promise to suspend the five-cent gas-tax price increase for a year, a proposal that the Senate opposed. Youngkin said rising gas prices predate Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine and the economic impact from sanctions placed on Russia.

“We saw of course prior to that was gas prices in Virginia had gone up a dollar. And they’ve gone up another 80 cents, and this is just part of the inflationary pressures that Virginians are feeling all over,” Youngkin told reporters after pumping gas for a few supporters.

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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 Rep. Beyer Cosponsors Legislation to Block Washington Commanders from Federal Tax Exemption on Bonds Used to Finance a Stadium

Don Beyer

Representative Don Beyer (D-VA-08) is sponsoring legislation to eliminate the federal tax-exempt status of municipal bonds that are used to finance professional sports facilities. In an announcement, Beyer and cosponsors Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA-14) and Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03) explicitly identified the Washington Commanders, who are looking for a new stadium site in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

“Super-rich sports team owners like Dan Snyder do not need federal support to build their stadiums, and taxpayers should not be forced to fund them,” Beyer said in a February 22 press release. “Billionaire owners who need cash can borrow from the market like any other business. Arguments that stadiums boost job creation have been repeatedly discredited. In a time when there is a debate over whether the country can ‘afford’ investments in health care, child care, education, or fighting climate change, it is ridiculous to even contemplate such a radical misuse of publicly subsidized bonds.”

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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, 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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Speaker of the House Gilbert Takes the Dais, Republicans Preview Agenda on First Day of 2022 General Assembly Session

Virginia House Republicans took power on Wednesday with the formal election and swearing-in of Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah). The first day of the 2022 General Assembly session was marked by ceremony and by minor squabbles between Democrats and Republicans over House rules. In the morning, Gilbert and other Republican leaders previewed their legislative goals for the session in a press conference.

“Our agenda for 2022 is a direct response to what we heard from voters on the campaign trail,” Gilbert said. “Throughout the campaign, voters consistently told us they were worried about their children’s education, inflation was making it harder to take care of their families, and they wanted to see the safety of their communities improved.”

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Virginia Gov. Northam Continues Legacy Tour, Highlights Proposed Spending on Gun Violence Prevention, HBCUs, Parks, Law Enforcement

Governor Ralph Northam is set to announce his final budget proposal next week, and he has spent this week on his “Thank You, Virginia” tour highlighting key pieces of the proposal — cementing his legacy before he leaves office early next year. On Friday, he announced $27 million to establish a Center for Firearm Violence Intervention and Prevention.

“We lose a thousand Virginians to gun violence each year, and we must do everything we can to bring that number to zero,” Northam said in a press release that also highlighted gun control legislation he signed during his term. “The new research Center will collect important data that can lead to meaningful change. Gun violence is a public safety and a public health issue, and we have so much work to do to end this epidemic of violence. This data will save lives.”

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Northam Announces $2.4 Billion Increase for Education in His Final Budget Proposal; New House Appropriations Chair Knight Previews Upcoming Budget Process

Governor Ralph Northam will include a $2.4 billion increase for education in his budget proposal to the General Assembly next week, with a 5 percent salary increase for teachers in each of the next two fiscal years.

“Paying teachers is the right thing to do, and a wise investment,” Northam said in a Monday press release. “Virginia has invested in teachers in a big way over these past four years, and now it’s time to do much more. Our country has asked teachers to carry a heavy load, especially during the pandemic. They have delivered, and they deserve to be rewarded.”

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School Board Politics Underlie Virginia Beach House Races

Virginia Beach has several competitive House of Delegates races where Republicans hope to make gains that will help power them to a House of Delegates majority.  GOP candidates are focusing on a mix of law-and-order and education policy in a city where school board politics underlie several of the local House races.

In HD 83, Attorney Tim Anderson is challenging Delegate Nancy Guy (D-Virginia Beach), a former school board member. In the past, Anderson has endorsed and legally represented School Board Member Victoria Manning, a member of a conservative minority faction on the school board. Manning herself has pushed for recalls of her fellow school board members, including Vice Chair Kim Melnyk, who is challenging Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) in HD 84. Additionally, 2020 school board candidate Jeffrey Feld is challenging Delegate Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) in HD 81.

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Republicans Competitive to Retake Virginia House of Delegates Majority

Republicans have a good chance to retake the majority in Virginia’s House of Delegates, powered by historically-Republican voters in swing districts who were alienated by former President Donald Trump. To win the majority, Republicans need to protect what they have and take six seats. They see opportunities in Northern Virginia, metro Richmond, Virginia Beach, and downstate Virginia.

“We feel that with the environment that’s going on right now, we’ve got great opportunities to pick up five to nine seats to take over,” Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Wise) told The Virginia Star. “That’s one thing you don’t have any control of, but the environment, you know, of Biden and just the overreach by a lot of the Democrats’ bills last year has really focused the independents back our way.”

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House Passes Virginia Rep. McEachin’s Bill to Study Creating a Great Dismal Swamp National Heritage Area

The House of Representatives passed Congressman Don McEachin’s (D-VA-04) Great Dismal Swamp National Heritage Act on Tuesday. If passed in the Senate, the bill will require the Secretary of the Interior to study potentially designating a Heritage Area in the region of the Great Dismal Swamp on the Virginia – North Carolina border.

“The Great Dismal Swamp is an incredibly important historical, archaeological, and environmental site for the Commonwealth,” McEachin said in a press release. “The Swamp was once a home and refuge to African American and Indigenous populations and enabled robust economic activity between the communities that called it home. Not only does it have immense cultural significance, the Swamp also plays a crucial role in our continued fight against the climate crisis.”

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PPP Loan Tax Exemption Bills Go into Conference in Virginia General Assembly

The General Assembly has so far failed to find middle ground for tax breaks on forgiven Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loans, and will now form a committee of three senators and three delegates to reconcile differences between the two chambers.

While a Senate bill calls for a $100,000 cap on income deductions claimed under PPP expenditures, the House of Delegates bill calls for only a $25,000 cap. When the two chambers considered each other’s bills, the House modified SB 1146 to a $25,000 cap, while the Senate amended HB 1935 to a $100,000 cap. After passing the modified versions, both chambers then rejected the modified versions of their original bills. On Friday, the two chambers agreed to form a conference committee to work together to create a bill that can pass both chambers.

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