Home Budget, Economy Video: VA Sen. Scott Surovell (D) Explains That Youngkin Falsely Frames Budget...

Video: VA Sen. Scott Surovell (D) Explains That Youngkin Falsely Frames Budget Deal as “Bipartisan,” But Actually He “gave up” and “ended up compromising 90% to our position”

Dems also won huge increases in education and mental health funding, instead of Youngkin's "addiction to tax cuts"

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VA State Senator Scott Surovell – who, by the way, is one of the leading contenders (along with Sen. Mamie Locke) to be the next Senate Majority Leader, starting in January 2024 – was on the air this morning talking about the budget deal overwhelmingly approved by the General Assembly last week. See below for video and a few highlights, including:

  • VA Senate Democrats pushed back hard and successfully against Youngkin’s “corporate tax cut,” as well as other tax cuts that Democrats didn’t think were a “good idea.”
  • In the end, Youngkin et al “ended up compromising 90% to our positionCongress is about to shut down, [Youngkin] needed to avoid that kind of an image in Virginia, so he was kind of boxed in, so they came to our side.”
  • We basically agreed to…a one-time refund of about $800-$900 million, he’s calling that ‘tax relief’, it’s really just a refund…we raised the exemption for military pay if you’re a retired military veteran you don’t have to pay in Virginia income tax at all anymore starting July 1…”
  • “K-12 was really what we prioritized in terms of spending, and that’s what we focused on…The governor only proposed in his budget to increase education spending on K-12 by about $100 to $150 million; we actually got him we actually got the Republicans to agree to over $1 billion of new money coming to our schools…We also have a big 2% pay raise for teachers in total, now we’re going to raise teacher pay in Virginia by about 12% over the last two years, which my caucus has been adamant that we need to get done.”
  • “Virginia’s mental health system is really on the rocks. We have a big bed shortage…it’s hard to just get people services when they need them. We have historic investments in mental health in this budget, probably about 140 million new dollars coming in. We actually need to put more in, but you can only put money in so fast, it takes a while to hire people and to build things, to actually spend the money. But it’s a big, huge, historic – actually historic – investment in mental health [that’s] way overdue.”
  • The governor has this addiction to tax cuts...We  gave him some tax cuts last year, he came back and wanted even more. And we just can’t keep cutting taxes – it’s not prudent. And that was basically the holdup the last six months. And the House Republican caucus was taking the governor’s position…and my caucus said no, we’re not just going to keep cutting taxes. We have JLARC, our independent auditor, found our schools are underfunded in Virginia by four billion dollars. We have the 10th highest…median family income in America, and our school spending is below the national average by 14%. And so from our perspective, it was very important for us to hold out for that K-12 investment and to hold out against
    those tax cuts the governor wanted. Because we just can’t continue to keep cutting our government when we have all these needs and people demand high-quality services in Virginia. And so [Youngkin] frames it as bipartisan, but he basically gave up when he saw the Congress is about to shut the government down; he doesn’t want that visual in Virginia when he’s trying to run for president. And we got elections going on in Virginia. And so he needed he needed to do something and he basically came to our position.”

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