Home Budget, Economy Video: In Portsmouth, VA Dem Leaders Blast Youngkin as “not very smart...

Video: In Portsmouth, VA Dem Leaders Blast Youngkin as “not very smart when it comes to politics,” Thinking He’s “king,” Campaigning Instead of Governing, etc.

On the proposed Potomac Yard arena, Sen. Lucas stated, point blank: "There is no deal...the arena bill is dead. Nothing more said."

55
4

See below for video and a transcript from yesterday’s press conference in Portsmouth to discuss the bipartisan, balanced, definitely-NOT-backwards budget. As you can see, the leaders – Speaker Don Scott, Senate Appropriations/Finance Chair Louise Lucas, House Appropriations Chair Luke Torian, Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mamie Locke – strongly defended the budget and BLASTED Glenn Youngkin for being “not very smart when it comes to politics,” thinking he’s “king,” not treating the General Assembly as a “co-equal branch of government,” “going around the Commonwealth and continuing to campaign” despite the fact that he LOST the election in November 2023; failing to do his job; etc. As Speaker Scott said, journalists should be asking Youngkin tough questions about the budget like, “What would he take out? Which Virginia families will he punish? Which Virginia children will he leave uneducated?” And as Del. Torian put it about Youngkin: “If you have not had enough time, why go on a campaign and call our budget a backwards budget?” Great stuff – nice job by these top Virginia leaders.

P.S. On the proposed Potomac Yard arena, Sen. Lucas stated, point blank: “There is no deal and that the arena bill is dead. Nothing more said.”

Speaker Don Scott: “One of the things that it’s been disappointing to see is that the governor has been focused on continuing to campaign. We had an election in November. Somebody might want to tell him he lost. It’s time to move forward and work together to get things done. The beautiful thing about this budget is that it was bipartisan. We had Republicans not only in Hampton roads like Anne Tata and Rob Bloxom vote for it, but we had central va Republicans like Carrie Coyner vote for it. And Shenandoah Valley Republicans like Ellen Campbell and Bill Wiley vote for it. We had Southwest region Southwest Republicans like Terry Kilgore and  Delegate Moorefield, Senator Hackworth all voted for this budget. It is a bipartisan budget. When we came to work in January, we came to do the work of our constituents. Our budget reflects the needs of our Virginians regardless of party. It’s a shining example of what we can achieve when we put people before politics. Our budget, as I said, has bipartisan support. That means we were able to reach across the aisle and compromise. It’s ok to compromise. That’s a win for all Virginians. We know we’re not going to see eye to eye on every issue but progress can only be made when we work together in a bipartisan way. This budget, I will say it again is a bipartisan budget. The commitment to working families is clear. We raised the minimum wage, we gave teachers a pay raise. We expanded access to healthcare and education. I think big folks need to understand that Virginia’s budget is over $180 billion with a B – over $90 billion per year, so a biennium budget. It’s a lot of cost, a lot of responsibility. Half of that budget is health care and education. We’re committed to public education, we’re committed to making sure that we take care of our families. In Hampton Roads alone, over 575,000 people will have access to paid family leave because of this budget. That means more time with their families and less time worrying about paying the bills when they welcome a baby or have to care for a loved one. We’re optimistic that the governor, as he visits across the state, that he will hear from our constituents, all of them, and he will understand that this budget is what they want. And one that folks want him to support. All Virginians have been accounted for in our budget, each of their needs have been addressed. And we know that once it passes, all Virginia families will be able to take a positive step forward. We’re proud of the work we did here today and I want to welcome you to continue to ask the hard questions for the governor. What would he take out? Which Virginia families will he punish? Which Virginia children will he leave uneducated That’s what we’ll ask the governor. And I hope that we’ll continue to ask these questions.”

Sen. Mamie Locke:  “The main question that you should be asking the governor is what’s backwards? What’s more backwards than what he is doing, in going around the Commonwealth and continuing to campaign to be what we don’t know. The Senate and the House are the responsible adults in the room. The Senate and the House Democrats proposed a serious structurally balanced, responsible bipartisan budget on time. We need to repeat that – on time. We will not be vetoed into agreeing to anything that he may be proposing. And we’re not going to cave in to his threats. Governor Youngkin has issued an unprecedented number of early vetoes, and he’s on track to veto more bills than any other governor of Virginia history, which would not help us finalize a state budget. I mean, if that’s his end game, that’s not going to help finalize a budget. And he’s doing what spoiled brats do when they can’t get what they want, and when they can’t get their way. We are a co equal branch of government. He is not the king. And he is not running a business. This is a government that we’re trying to run here. And we are a co equal branch of that government. His line-item veto authority is very limited, and he needs to understand that. Our budget, as the Speaker has already said, is responsive to Virginians’ needs. In our November mandate, we delivered a budget that undid giveaways to the wealthy and the governor’s use of one-time funds. We made historic investments in K 12 higher education and mental health. The governor simply needs to sign the budget and stop threatening unprecedented budget veto. We have done our job. It is now time for him to do his.”

Del. Luke Torian: “Over the next few days, Chairwoman Lucas and I will be highlighting our budgets, critical investments and making our Commonwealth a better place for all Virginians to live work and to raise a family. Whether you live in Virginia Beach, Richmond, Prince William, Roanoke or Abingdon, all of us understand here today, we all are invested in you and providing the resources you in your area vitally needs. Across the Elizabeth River, in Norfolk, we are providing $25 million to the city for coastal risk storm management – storm management projects to combat the damaging impact of global warming. If you go up the river to the city of Chesapeake, where toxins still line the bottom of the waterway, disrupting this vital ecosystem for our wildlife, we are investing $3.8 million in the Army Corps of Engineers cleanup project at Money Point. These investments, along with those we are making in behavioral health, public education, rural health and infrastructure, so that we in the General Assembly are committed to producing to putting Virginia families first. Like a mustard seed, these investments might seem small to some. but have incredible transformative power.”

Sen. Louise Lucas: “I am pleased to be with you today and to share our message –  the budget that we adopted puts Virginia families first. It is a bipartisan budget and has been thoughtfully put together to move Virginia forward. It is beneficial to every individual in the Commonwealth. It places the focus on educating our children – the future of this great state. You cannot have the needed workforce or economic growth in this region without investments in education. Families must have access to higher quality K-12 education system and for its children. Within the budget, new investments in education total over $2.5 billion over the current fiscal year. This includes 3% raises for teachers…over $500 million for early childhood care and education programs, including funding for at risk and English language learner programs – and an additional reading specialist position. Since we are here in Hampton Roads, I also want to highlight that specific funding is provided for career and technical education programs…to the tune of $2.2 million for each…Higher education is also key when it comes to having workforce for the future. Proposed new investments in the areas also cover $200 million and are provided to increase access affordability for college degrees. Items that are top priorities here include the increases in needs-based financial aid and Pell initiatives to ensure that low income students can enroll and complete their degrees. And of great importance to Hampton Roads are the investment in HBCUs, including $20 million for Norfolk State University to supply the institution for the partnership with the other HBCUs across the Commonwealth. Also of importance in this region is the $37 million to complete the merger of the Old Dominion University Eastern Virginia Medical School. This will enable individuals and families in Hampton Roads to continue to have access to quality health care and important health care in the years to come. Virginia communities are also safer more than rver – we put $75 million to provide in new funding for such items as a safer communities program, grants to community partners to reduce violence, and other interventions and program services…There are so many great things to mention about this budget. But I’m going to end on toll relief.  For anybody who knows me, you know that this topic is a heart throb and a passion of mine and that I will not rest until it is complete. We will bite that elephant, eat it piece by piece. As promised, I have delivered for this area the sum total of a multifaceted approach to toll relief. So far I have $101 million. This would include for individuals earning below $50,000, 14 free trips per week, plan forgiveness for individual…and the ability to receive a no-cost transponder and a study by VDOT on how to include an HOV toll free option in a in the available future. This will continue to be one of my top priorities over the next four years…I am happy to conclude my statement saying that this budget puts Virginia families first and move Virginians forward…Well, I hate to say this in front of this audience and especially since it’s gonna be live, but the governor has about as much aptitude in politics – I won’t name the other person. No, he is not very smart when it comes to politics. He thinks that he is the boss of all of us. He came to the legislature thinking that all of us who are in the legislature had to answer to him. He failed to understand that we are co equals in this process and that he has to bring those priorities to us and get our agreement on them before we move forward. But yes,  the short to answer your question about his understanding of the process, I would say he does not.”

Del. Torian: “This is the problem – if you have not had enough time, why go on a campaign and call our budget a backwards budget? If you have not had enough time to understand that we have listened to the citizens of the Commonwealth, what they want…When you propose a 1% salary increase for state employees and our teachers, what kind of salary increase is that We have listened to the citizens of the commonwealth and we’re proposing a 3% increase to hard working families to our teachers as well. If he had looked at the budget closely, he would have recognized that JLARC said we need to heavily invest in K-12 education and that is what we have done. If he had looked at the budget closely, then he would be able to answer why he did not invest in higher ed? And we took on and we invested in higher ed because our workforce is important to us. If he looked at the budget, he will recognize that we have put Virginia families first.”

Sen. Lucas: “The governor was the one who raised the taxes. Take a look at his budget. His introduced budget includes uh included raising the taxes on digital downloads and what he’s gonna do with the taxes to take that money and give it to the rich…So he was the one who started the whole thing with the tax. All we did was further highlight what he had done so that we could pay for our priorities, which as has been stated on our education priorities, on the priorities that are important to all the regions of this Commonwealth. So when it comes to raising taxes, he did it first…I think that with all of the information that you have read that you’ve heard there is no deal and that the arena bill is dead. Nothing more said.”

********************************************************


Sign up for the Blue Virginia weekly newsletter

Previous articleTuesday News: “Supreme Court hears the biggest abortion case since Dobbs”; “No One Is Above the Law, Except, Apparently, Donald Trump”; “NBC stands for Now Boosting the Coup”; “Baltimore’s Key Bridge collapses after being struck by ship”
Next articlePresident Joe Biden, Virginia Elected Officials React to the Francis Scott Key Bridge Tragedy/Disaster