RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia General Assembly will meet in Richmond next week with the presumption that state lawmakers will vote on a pair of budgets and other bills.
The legislature wrapped up its 60-day regular session on March 12 without agreeing on a two-year state budget and before ironing out key differences in several pieces of legislation that were approved.
The status of any deals on the budgets and unresolved bills are unknown, but House Clerk Paul Nardo and Senate Clerk Susan Schaar confirmed Monday that state lawmakers have been called back to Richmond on June 1 at 10 a.m.
“With the Speaker’s call today for the House to convene next Wednesday, it’s presumed we’ll meet and vote on the conference reports for HB 29 and HB 30,” Nardo wrote in an email to 8News. “We’ll also likely act on any submitted conference reports continued from the 2022 Regular Session in accordance with House Resolution 455, as well as single-house commending and memorial resolutions.”
Billions in proposed tax cuts that Gov. Youngkin campaigned on, including doubling the state’s standard deduction and repealing the grocery tax, have been some of the main hurdles in negotiations over the spending plan.
“Virginians are ready for the General Assembly to come together on the budget and deliver much-needed tax relief and investments in education, law enforcement, and behavioral health for Virginians,” Youngkin said in a statement Monday. “I look forward to reviewing their budget proposal.”
A potential government shutdown could come if the state legislature doesn’t approve a plan by the end of the state’s current budget year on June 30.
Youngkin and legislators acknowledged a special session would be needed to finish this year’s work on the budget and to give the chambers enough time to reach compromises on bills.
Budget negotiators in the Republican-controlled House of Delegates and Democratic-controlled Virginia Senate needed to iron out the differences between the chamber’s opposing plans for tax cuts, which were nearly $3 billion apart in March.
The House approved a spending plan to fulfill Youngkin’s campaign promises. The chamber’s budget would double the state’s standard deduction, eliminate the 2.5% sales tax on groceries and personal hygiene products, suspend the 5-cent-per-gallon gas tax hike for a year and exempt $40,000 of military retirement benefits from income taxes.
The Senate backed cutting the grocery tax, but kept the 1% local option component of the sales tax, and agreed to give a tax exemption of military pensions, but not $40,000. The chamber wants to study whether to double the standard deduction and has pushed against putting a hold on the gasoline tax increase.
Stay with 8News for updates.