RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Governor Glenn Youngkin ceremonially signed Virginia’s newly passed budget on Tuesday, marking another milestone for the political newcomer.
Youngkin celebrated promises kept at a crowded event at Tom Leonard’s Farmer’s Market in Short Pump, where he also campaigned before the election.
But in a divided government, Youngkin didn’t get everything he asked for. He reflected on some of those losses in his speech and in a one-on-one interview.
“It’s not everything I wanted so we are going back in January to get the rest,” Youngkin told the crowd.
Youngkin helped ring up customers as he touted a package of tax cuts totaling roughly $4 billion dollars.
Some centerpieces include ending the state portion of the grocery tax by 2023, increasing the standard deduction by 80 percent and giving one-time payments to eligible taxpayers ($250 for individuals and $500 for married couples).
Youngkin’s spokesperson Macaulay Porter said taxpayers who filed a return before July 1, 2022 should see the rebate before October 17, 2022. She said those who filed their returns after July 1, 2022 should get payments no later than four months after the date it was submitted.
“This budget we will sign today cuts taxes for the typical Virginia family by $1,100 in year one,” Youngkin said. “Four times any tax reduction ever voted for in Virginia. This is big.”
Not included in the mix is Youngkin’s proposed gas tax holiday, which has now been rejected at least three times by the Democrat-controlled Senate. Opponents feared the pause would drain much-needed transportation funding without guaranteeing savings for consumers.
Asked if this is the end of the road for that effort, Youngkin said, ”We’ll continue to push in the next session because I do think our taxes are too high.”
The budget also makes big new investments in public safety and education, including raises for state employees.
It delivers a partial win for Youngkin’s push to expand school choice.
Lawmakers agreed to spend $100 million to kick start so-called lab schools and an amendment to expand which universities can get involved, including certain private ones, barely squeaked by.
However, Democrats rejected Youngkin’s amendment that would’ve allowed state funding to follow students to possible new public school alternatives.
Youngkin said $100 million “is not sufficient” and he plans to ask for more down the road.
Asked in an interview if his effort to create at least 20 new innovation schools is sustainable without that additional funding stream, Youngkin said, “Of course it is…I think this is our first step to show success and I think when we show success with everybody on board I think we’re going to see a great opportunity to continue to fund these lab schools and make sure Virginia parents have a choice.”
Meanwhile, with a final opinion determining the fate of Roe v. Wade due out any day, the Republican-controlled House recently rejected Youngkin’s budget proposal to create a felony under state law for protests that seek to intimidate or influence U.S. Supreme Court justices. Opponents said it was overly broad and potentially unconstitutional.
“I wanted the ability to enforce the law that our Attorney General in the United States is choosing not to enforce and I’m disappointed that we didn’t get that done,” Youngkin said. “I fully will protect people’s right to protest and demonstrate…but we’re not going to allow any destruction of property or any violence.”
Youngkin cannot officially sign the budget into law yet for procedural reasons but Porter said that could happen as soon as Wednesday.