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No deal on Virginia budget as lawmakers return for special session

House and Senate versions of the state’s two-year spending plan are still about $3 billion apart.
Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 4:40 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 4, 2022 at 4:51 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Monday afternoon, the Virginia House and Senate gaveled into session at the statehouse. But, with no state budget deal, there wasn’t a lot to vote on.

“We are looking at how can we get relief into the pockets of consumers, and there are many different ways to do that,” said State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, (D) 9th District.

House and Senate versions of the state’s two-year spending plan are still about $3 billion apart. The main difference centers around how to spend $14 billion in unanticipated state revenue.

“It all comes down to Republicans want to give the money back to the people. With inflation right now, the tremendous cost of gas for everyday families - it’s just a lot,” said State Sen. Amanda Chase, (R) 11th District.

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

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

“I think it’s important to understand that we have extra money in part because we’re not fully funding our K-12 education system. We’re not fully meeting our health and human resource needs,” said McClellan.

The fate of the governor’s 90-day gas tax holiday is also still up in the air.

“The Democratic side, they’re saying, ‘look, you know it’s not going to be really effective,’ and you know, I disagree with that. I think everyday families, whether you are a Republican, Democrat, Independent, they’re all saying we need some relief,” said Chase.

Lawmakers have to be back on April 27 for a veto session. They hope to have a budget to vote on by then too.

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