RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) said he will call a special session for the state budget “as soon as we need one,” urging lawmakers to work together to send him a spending deal as quickly as they can.
Youngkin addressed a potential special session on the budget Thursday at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new LEGO facility in Chesterfield, telling reporters he’s encouraged by Virginia’s financial forecast and optimistic a budget will get done this year.
“It’s time for us to come together and unlock tax cuts and critical investment for Virginians,” the governor said. “I am encouraging our Senate Democrats to come together with our House Republican leadership and get this done and send me a budget.”
The General Assembly already approved the 2022-2024 state budget, but one that lawmakers described as a stopgap needed to fund vital services while House and Senate negotiators iron out key spending proposals.
Lawmakers met last June for a special session to finish up the two-year state budget, which included $4 billion in tax cuts. A special session this year would come as lawmakers campaign for state primaries in June and General Assembly elections in November.
“I am frustrated that we’re in this circumstance again this year like we were last year because we are well ahead of plan. The plan was a forecast for a $3.6 billion surplus and we’re tracking ahead of it,” Youngkin told reporters Thursday. “We got plenty of money in the system.
“We can cut taxes and we can make priority investments in behavioral health and education and law enforcement. I’ve been saying this since last December and I am very pleased that we are tracking right where we thought we would be.”
House Republicans and Senate Democrats were divided on Youngkin’s amendments to the 2022-2024 state budget, mainly on the governor’s proposal for another $1 billion in tax cuts that would give breaks to corporations and top earners.
The Republican-controlled House backed Youngkin’s budget plan, including proposals to reduce the top income tax rate from 5.75% to 5.5% — estimated to cut revenues by roughly $333 million in the 2024 fiscal year — raise the standard deduction for individual tax filers and joint filers and cut the corporate income tax rate from 6% to 5%.
Cutting the corporate income tax rate by one percent is estimated to lower revenues by $362 million over the next two fiscal years, a proposal that one of the Senate’s budget negotiators, Senate Finance Co-Chair George Barker (D-Fairfax), told 8News Democrats don’t support.
Senate Democrats are pushing to use the $1 billion for other services and state programs, mainly to boost the state’s investments in public education and mental health services. The budget plan supported by the chamber called for nearly $600 million more in K-12 education funding than Youngkin’s plan.
“I believe, just based on the position that we’re in financially, we can get this done and I just ask folks to get it done as fast as they can, and I will call a special session as soon as we need one,” Youngkin said.