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 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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COVID-19, Supply Chain Issues Slowing Virginia’s Economic Recovery

Virginia’s financial position continues to improve after COVID-19’s impacts in 2020, but the fast-paced recovery seen earlier in the year is slowing, Secretary of Finance Joe Flores told legislators in an update on Monday and Tuesday.

“The bottom line is that we’ve hit a few roadblocks in the past month or so with the resurgence of the virus, especially the Delta variant, and some supply chain issues. But you’re going to see from this report, as you mentioned Madam Chair, that the current revenue performance continues to just chug along. We’re doing actually very well, and it’s suggestive of a recovering economy,” Flores told the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.

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In Joint Finance Committee Meeting Gov. Northam Highlights Virginia’s $2.6 Billion Surplus and Economic Recovery

Gov. Ralph Northam

Governor Ralph Northam touted Virginia’s 2021 $2.6 billion surplus and economic recovery in his annual revenue speech to a joint meeting of the Senate Finance and Appropriations, House Appropriations, and House Finance Committees.

“I am here today to update you on the Commonwealth’s revenues for the fiscal year that ended on June 30. And it’s good news. Really good news,” he said, according to prepared remarks of the Wednesday speech.

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General Assembly Back in Session, in Person, to Allocate ARPA Funds

RICHMOND, Virginia – The budget bill to allocate $4.3 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds passed out of the House of Delegates Committee on Appropriations on Monday, the first step to passing Governor Ralph Northam’s proposals for the money.

But the first day of the second 2022 special session saw legislative gridlock between the Senate and the House of Delegates. The House passed HJ 7003, which establishes the rules and schedule for how the session will operate. When the legislation was sent to the Senate, Senate Democratic leaders introduced three amendments which received broad bipartisan support.

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David Ralston Proposes New Resources to Fight Atlanta’s Crime Problem

GA David Ralston

Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) this week proposed spending $3 million in additional state law enforcement resources to fight Atlanta’s worsening crime problem. This, according to an emailed press release.

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Governor Northam Outlines Budget Recommendations with Focuses on COVID-19, Education

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam unveiled his recommendations for the biennial budget on Wednesday with big spending toward the state’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic, public education and other items.

The governor presented his budget proposals to lawmakers during a joint virtual meeting of the House of Delegates and Senate appropriation committees.

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Virginia Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton Nominated to Powerful House Appropriations Committee

After two years in Congress, Representative Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) has been nominated to the powerful House Appropriations Committee for the 117th session which starts in January. The current session is the first in over a century where Virginia had no representatives on the committee, according to a Wexton press release. She will be able to advocate funding for Virginia priorities like infrastructure and national defense.

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Bill to End Qualified Immunity for Law Enforcement Officers Defeated in House Appropriations Committee

Delegates in the House Committee on Appropriations voted against a bill Monday that removed qualified immunity for law enforcement officers, making them liable to lawsuits. 

The Bill, HB 5013, sponsored by Del. Bourne (D-Richmond City), was defeated in Committee after failing to get enough votes to advance to the House floor.

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Commentary: Democrats’ Fantasies of ‘Barr Perjury’ Defy Logic and the Record

by Paul J. Larkin Jr.   Disappointed with, frustrated by, and angry at special counsel Robert Mueller’s unhelpful conclusion that President Donald Trump was not in cahoots with the Russians during the 2016 campaign, Democrats are desperately searching for something, anything, that they can use to impeach the Mueller report by…

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