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Youngkin: “The General Assembly Should Give Virginians Their Money Back”

Facing the highest gas prices on record and the highest inflation rates in decades, families across Virginia are having to do more with their budgets. My plan is simple: The cost of living is going up, so taxes must come down.

We must use the multibillion-dollar surplus in Virginia’s budget to provide timely tax relief for all Virginians. With just a few days left until the planned March 12 adjournment, there’s a lot of work to do to complete the two-year budget. Virginians sent me to Richmond to deliver, and we won’t let arbitrary deadlines stand in the way of doing the right thing.

Last month, I sent a letter to House Appropriations Chair Barry D. Knight and Senate Finance & Appropriations Chair Janet D. Howell to inform them of a revised revenue forecast that estimates the commonwealth will collect $1.25 billion more in the current fiscal year, on top of the additional $3.3 billion added to the original forecast last December. This is a staggering number that confirms what I have repeatedly said since last summer: The state government is overtaxing Virginians.

As a result, I asked the General Assembly to return a significant portion of the roughly $13.4 billion of unanticipated revenue we are forecast to collect this budget cycle back to taxpayers in tax cuts and rebates. I am confident we can provide tax relief for Virginia families, and invest in our shared priorities like schools and teachers via the largest education budget in Virginia’s history.

We can provide more training and better equipment for law enforcement, emergency funding for campus security at Virginia’s historically Black colleges and universities, and expand behavioral health programs. We also can fund salary increases for teachers, state employees and law enforcement personnel.

The proposed budget from the House of Delegates gives us a strong framework by providing nearly $5.3 billion in tax relief for all Virginians. Their budget includes tax cuts for our military veterans and commonsense tax relief worth $1,500 for a typical Virginia family in the first year. Their budget represents the priorities I outlined in the Day One Game Plan and Virginians voted for last November. While it does not include nearly enough tax relief, the state Senate budget proposal also includes commonsense, bipartisan priorities on which we can find common ground.

I am encouraged by many of the amendments adopted in both the House and Senate budgets. However, let me make one thing clear. The idea that we have to choose between tax relief and our shared priorities is a false choice. It is critical that we do our part to reduce the tax burden on our citizens, particularly at a time when present receipts continue to be as robust as they are.

Many Virginians are struggling in the face of a rising cost of living. Doubling Virginia’s standard deduction to $9,000 for single filers and $18,000 for joint filers, as proposed by the House, will help lower income tax burdens and raise take-home pay for working Virginians.

Furthermore, I have asked that the General Assembly fully repeal the regressive tax on groceries, eliminating both the state and local portions of the tax, while adopting the House’s approach to secure funding for education. In addition to this ongoing tax relief, I have asked for a one-time rebate of $300 for individuals and $600 for families, and a temporary cut to the gas tax.

This is a unique moment to provide much-needed relief to families and businesses to strengthen our workforce and economy. Virginia has fallen behind much of the nation in its recovery from the pandemic and there is a clear path: Do the right thing and lower the cost of living for families and invest in Virginians’ future. Time to get to work.

– Governor Glenn Youngkin

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