Lawmakers set to return to Richmond for special session on budget revisions

Published: Sep. 4, 2023 at 5:58 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) - Virginia lawmakers will return to Richmond on Wednesday, September 6 after Governor Glenn Youngkin called a special session. The General Assembly will vote on amendments to the two-year state budget to end a six-month-long budget stalemate.

When legislators return to Richmond Wednesday the hope is that they won’t need to be there for very long. Budget negotiators from the Republican-held House of Delegates and Democrat-held Senate have reached a compromise on revisions to the two-year state budget passed last year.

The primary point of contention in the budget revisions has been tax cuts. Governor Youngkin and Republicans were initially seeking $1 billion in corporate and individual income tax cuts which led to the standoff with Senate Democrats.

The compromise that will be voted on this week would return around $900 million to taxpayers with $200 rebates for individuals and $400 rebates for couples filing jointly.

Other tax relief items in the bill include raising the standard deduction for taxpayers who don’t itemize their deductions, removing the age limit for an exemption of military retirement income, and raising the deduction for business interest expenses. It would also bring back the sales tax holiday traditionally held before Labor Day.

The compromise would also ramp up education funding with an additional $653 million going to K-12 education and $418 million to be divided into one-time payments to school divisions with the purpose of addressing COVID-19 pandemic learning loss and the implementation of the Virginia Literacy Act.

Additionally, the budget compromise would fund a 2% pay raise for teachers and state employees.

Rockingham County Delegate Tony Wilt said he is still reviewing the proposal before heading to Richmond on Wednesday.

“I’m still in the process of reviewing the budget. On my initial assessment, I’m glad to see the additional tax relief along with some targeted investments in key areas. There are, however, a few disappointments. As I continue to review the finer details I will weigh those against the positives,” said Wilt in a statement to WHSV on Monday.

If legislators do pass the budget amendments this week they could go into effect immediately if Governor Youngkin signs the proposal into law within seven days of its passing. Otherwise, it would require a one-month period for further amendments to be proposed before going into effect.

You can find a full breakdown of the amended budget comprise proposal here.