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State lawmakers consider record surplus as they look toward 2022 session

(WDBJ)
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 7:44 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - With a new Governor moving into the executive mansion in January, and the GOP ready to claim the majority in the House of Delegates, Republicans are riding high.

Sen. Travis Hackworth (R-Richlands) says he is looking forward to the transition.

“Governor-elect Youngkin is a businessman and an entrepreneur. I can connect with that,” Hacksworth said Thursday morning in Blacksburg. “And I think his approach, you’re going to see, is going to be a “get it done,” instead of just a status quo.”

As the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce considered the session ahead, Republicans touted the prospect of major tax relief.

“There have been massive surpluses, massive,” said Sen. David Suetterlein (R-Roanoke Co.). “It’s because there have been massive tax increases.”

But Democrats argued the General Assembly should be careful to protect valuable investments.

“Whatever comes out of the next session, I hope that nothing will be done to roll back those investments expanding I-81, finally addressing that issue,” said Luke Priddy, Chief of Staff for Sen. John Edwards (D-Roanoke). “We’ve increased teacher pay and I think we need to further invest in education.”

Just how big the state surplus will be was a major focus as the Senate Finance Committee convened in Roanoke for its annual retreat.

“Certain things become very clear,” said Virginia Tech Professor and WDBJ7 political analyst Bob Denton. “One is a great deal of money. And how is that going to be spent?”

We’ll learn more about the current governor’s spending plan in mid-December when Ralph Northam delivers revised revenue estimates and outlines his final budget proposal before leaving office.

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