Virginia budget debate continues with no deal in sight

Virginia State Capitol
Virginia State Capitol(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 13, 2023 at 8:45 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - It’s doubtful Virginia will see a deal on state spending before the new budget year begins July 1, but both sides are jockeying for position in case we see a special session of the General Assembly in the weeks ahead.

There is no danger of a state government shutdown, because lawmakers are weighing amendments to the two-year budget they passed in 2022. But they haven’t allocated billions of dollars that would pay for tax relief, fund salary increases and support public education and many other programs that depend on state aid.

Virginia Democrats have been travelling the state, calling for a budget agreement that would provide an additional billion dollars for schools.

Governor Youngkin wants a similar amount for tax relief. And when Secretary of Finance Stephen Cummings briefed members of the Senate money committees Tuesday morning, he was asked if recent concerns about the nation’s debt limit or the possibility of a recession had changed the equation on tax relief.

“We’ve got money in the bank to deal with those unexpected things,” Cummings told lawmakers. “We think we’re prepared for what could be a worse outcome than the world believes, and based on that, we still have confidence we have the resources to be able to execute on the plan.”

There’s no word on when negotiators might reach an agreement on the budget amendments and no word on when Governor Youngkin might call a special session. But we are hearing more speculation that once the June primaries are behind us, movement on the state budget could be possible once again.