Today is “budget day” in Virginia, as the Republican-controlled House of Delegates and Democratic-controlled State Senate roll out competing budget proposals. Not surprisingly, they are VERY different.
First, for some background, see Salary boosts for teachers, state employees in Virginia budget mix, which explains, “House Republicans already have embraced a $1 billion package of tax cuts that Gov. Glenn Youngkin proposed in the $177.4 billion, two-year budget that he introduced on Dec. 15, but they face a tough sell to Senate Democrats who widened their narrow edge in the chamber to 22-18 with a special election victory last month in Virginia Beach.” Also, for some background on what the Virginia budget SHOULD include, see Video: Virginia Parents, Elected Officials Call for Lawmakers to Prioritize Families Over Corporations (In stark contrast, “The centerpiece of the governor’s budget proposal is $500 million in tax cuts that will go to profitable businesses and corporations.”); Video: VA Senate Republican Leader Tommy Norment Says There’s NO Appetite for Youngkin’s Corporate Tax Cut; Massive Youngkin Error Leaves Local K-12 Schools with $201 Million Budgetary Shortfall; etc.
With that, see below for some of what House Republicans are proposing, including Gov. Youngkin’s $1 billion tax cut mostly for large corporations and the wealthiest Virginians (at the expense of those who need it most), as well as $50 million for “lab schools” (a favorite of Youngkin’s) and “$100m ‘technical updates’ (to fix Dept Ed’s screw-up?)”. Then, we’ll take a look at what Senate Democrats are proposing, in stark contrast to House Republicans and MUCH better for working Virginians.
Now, here are the Senate Finance/Appropriations Committee subcommittee reports (to view the subcommittee chairs’ presentations late this afternoon, click here and go to “February 5, 2023 – Finance and Appropriations – Comm Room B – 4:00 pm”). In sum:
Senate Finance/Appropriations Chair Janet Howell said something to the effect of (not an exact quote): While we are not including the governor’s $1 billion in tax cuts, we negotiated last session for $4 billion in tax cuts and do not think it is wise to take further action now given the inflationary pressures that remain in the economy.
VPM reporter Jahd Khalil: “The Virginia Senate’s budget is looking like it will contain no tax cuts, Chairperson Sen Howell said it was too early after the tax cuts they passed last year. Dems want to focus on fully funding programs. The House earlier approved a budget w/tax cuts and spending increases.”
Sen. Creigh Deeds: “Senate budget brings total of new money to K-12 to $1 billion! And goes a long way toward meeting our mental health goals. There is still work to do.”
In other words, the Democratic-controlled State Senate is saying “hell no” to Gov. Youngkin’s tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations, and is saying hell YES to $1 billion in K-12 education spending. To put it another way, Senate Democrats have their priorities straight, while Youngkin obviously does not.