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Virginia lawmakers return to Richmond for special session next week

Heading into the special session, house and senate versions of the state budget are still about $3 billion apart.
Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 11:03 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - At Virginia’s State Capitol, house and senate budget negotiators will meet on Friday. But the chances of having a budget for lawmakers to vote on come the start of Monday’s General Assembly Special Session is unlikely.

“What we’re doing right now is really fighting for the investment in Virginia. No where has there been a time like this before where we have a unique opportunity to really invest in Virginia,” said State Del. Lamont Bagby, (D) 74th District.

Heading into the special session, house and senate versions of the state budget are still about $3 billion apart. The main difference centers around how to spend $14 billion in unanticipated state revenue.

Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin and house Republicans want to send much more of the money back to taxpayers through a one-time rebate and cuts in income, grocery and gasoline taxes.

He says $5 billion would go toward tax relief while the other $9 billion will go toward investments.

“It’s time for us to reduce taxes on Virginians. It’s time for us to move forward with necessary investments in education and law enforcement, mental and behavioral health. It’s time to have a budget for Virginia,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin, (R) Virginia.

Senate Democrats have agreed to rebates and some tax cuts, but contend surplus money should be spent on long overdue investments in core services, including public education and health care, especially behavioral health.

“We want to provide tax relief to Virginians. There’s no doubt about that but we have to do it in a comprehensive, responsible fashion where we are still able to make investments,” said Del. Bagby.

On Monday, lawmakers will likely assemble at the statehouse to figure out their own rules and procedures. They will likely then adjourn until a compromise and deal are struck on the two-year spending plan for the state.

“There are very experienced senior legislators in the house and the senate working on it and I know they’re working. I’ve spoken to leadership on both sides,” said Gov. Youngkin.

The budget will also determine the fate of a number of bills still pending from the 60-day session.

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