Gov. Youngkin amends rather than vetoes Virginia budget proposal, strikes different tone (2024)

RICHMOND — Gov. Glenn Youngkin is proposing an overhaul rather than an outright rejection of the budget proposal adopted last month by the Virginia General Assembly, recommending more than 200 amendments to the two-year spending plan.

“I invite our legislative colleagues and all their teams to partner with us and work together,” said Youngkin, speaking at a Monday briefing at the Patrick Henry Building. “I look forward to those discussions — the hope is that on April 17, we can pass a clean, balanced common-ground budget that truly fuels Virginia’s future.”

Youngkin’s amendments would remove any tax increases included in the proposal approved by the legislature, including a digital sales tax — which the governor originally supported — that would have included digital items in the state’s sales and use tax base. It would also undo an effort from Democrats to have the state rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which he previously said places a “hidden tax” on utility consumers.

RGGI is a multistate program that pushes a shift to renewable energy production by requiring energy producers to buy allowances for each metric ton of carbon they produce.

“To be clear, we do not need new taxes,” Youngkin said.

Some Democrats expressed concern ahead of Monday’s action that the Republican governor would veto the entire package. Legislators will return to Richmond and reconvene April 17 to take up all of the governor’s amendments and bill vetoes.

Youngkin said the state was in a position to take a “both/and” approach, as opposed to “either/or” and could fund priorities without tax increases.

“Many of our legislative colleagues have a particular project that is really important in their jurisdiction and we have worked to make sure that those priorities that were reflected in the conference report budget continue to be funded in our (amended) budget,” he said.

One project of regional importance in Hampton Roads is toll relief. While the General Assembly budget included $101 million in funding for toll relief, Youngkin’s amendments would scale that back to $67 million. It would be available for Portsmouth and Norfolk residents earning less than $50,000 and would fund up to 14 weekly trips for residents through 2036.

Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Louise Lucas was among those who considered toll relief a top priority.

“We put $101 million in the budget and he reduced it to $67 million,” Lucas, D-Portsmouth, wrote in a message to The Virginian-Pilot. “Needless to say, I will not stop until I get toll relief that will benefit everybody traveling through that tunnel.”

10 years of tunnel tolls: How they have helped — and hurt — Hampton Roads

Youngkin said he was meeting Democrats halfway because he was no longer pushing for any of the tax cuts included in his initial budget proposal.

“I had a billion dollars in tax cuts and relief and reform and that was really important to me,” he told a gaggle of reporters after the briefing. “I stepped back from that.”

The governor unveiled his budget proposal in December. It would have cut income taxes by 12% across all brackets while raising the state sales tax from 4.3% to 5.2%. It would have closed what Youngkin described as the “big tech tax loophole” on digital goods. Legislators nixed the income tax cuts and the increase in sales tax in their proposal. They kept the new tax on digital goods and expanded it to include business-to-business software transactions.

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The amended budget plan would spend $64 billion over the next two fiscal years. Among the funding included in the amended budget is $21.2 billion for K-12 education and money for a 3% raise each year for teachers over the biennium.

James Fedderman, president of the Virginia Education Association, said in a statement that the amendments reduce a segment of funding targeted to high-poverty schools from $371 million to $98 million.

“His proposed cuts of hundreds of millions of dollars directly target high-poverty schools, jeopardizing the future of our children,” Fedderman said.

The amended plan also provides $24 million to support the Virginia’s Military Survivor and Dependent Education Program, up from the $20 million included in the General Assembly proposal.

“We are committed to keeping Virginia the most veteran-friendly state,” said Virginia Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera.

It further includes $560 million for various efforts to support those with developmental disabilities, including expanding developmental disability waivers.

In recent weeks, Youngkin had blasted Democrats and the budget proposal from the legislature, slamming it as “backward” during a slew of interviews and news conferences across the state. He also vetoed major Democratic priorities, including raising the minimum wage, a slew of gun safety legislation and creating a legal market for marijuana to address the state’s murky laws on cannabis.

Virginia General Assembly adjourns after passing 2-year state budget proposal

He struck a notably different tone Monday, thanking members of the conference committee for their work, including Lucas and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Luke Torian.

“Over the course of this process, we have had an opportunity to listen, we’ve had an opportunity to engage in dialogue and we’ve had an opportunity to show respect for each other’s perspectives and priorities,” Youngkin said.

House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert praised the governor’s compromise, saying it retained the “vast majority” of Democrats’ funding priorities without raising taxes.

“Even as Democrats refused to come to the table, the governor has put forward nothing less than an olive branch of compromise. I look forward to working with him to see these amendments accepted, and the budget signed into law,” said Gilbert, R-Woodstock.

House Speaker Don Scott, D-Portsmouth, said the Democratic majority had reached across the aisle and crafted a budget that many Republican legislators supported.

“I have yet to hear the governor say what it actually was, which was a bipartisan budget that meets the needs of the commonwealth,” he told The Pilot.

Scott said he could not comment further because the amendments have not yet been released to Democrats for review. But he noted the “unprecedented number of amendments.”

He further shared frustrations over Youngkin calling on Democrats to work with him on the amendments, despite having recently vetoed many bills and throwing a “temper tantrum” when his hopes for a sporting complex in Northern Virginia didn’t come to fruition.

“It shows how he negotiates,” Scott said. “(But) in spite of his poor leadership we are still trying to work with him.”

Youngkin told reporters he was continuing to work on a controversial bill that would legalize skill games.

The governor said he had “major problems” with some aspects of the legislation, but understood it was important to a bipartisan group of legislators. He said he would continue to work on amendments prior to Monday’s midnight deadline.

Katie King,

Gov. Youngkin amends rather than vetoes Virginia budget proposal, strikes different tone (2024)


Who prepares the budget in Virginia? ›

Virginia operates under a two-year (biennial) budget cycle. Each year the Governor prepares the proposed budget bill for introduction by the General Assembly.

How does the Virginia budget work? ›

Virginia uses a biennial budget. The legislature is not required to pass a balanced budget, the governor is not required to sign one, and deficits may be carried over into the following year. However, the state has budget rules that require lawmakers to balance revenues and expenditures.

Is the VA funded for 2024? ›

Each year federal agencies receive funding from Congress, known as budgetary resources . In FY 2024, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had $390.15 Billion distributed among its 3 sub-components. Agencies spend available budgetary resources by making financial promises called obligations .

Who proposes the biennial budget in Virginia? ›

Virginia operates under a two-year (biennial) budget cycle. Each year the Governor prepares the proposed budget bill for introduction by the General Assembly.

How much debt does Virginia have? ›

In the fiscal year of 2022, Virginia's state debt stood at about 30.84 billion U.S. dollars. Comparatively, the state's debt in 2000 stood at 12.01 billion U.S. dollars.

Where does Virginia get its money? ›

About. In Virginia, counties are given few revenue options to pay for services including schools, public safety, human services, transportation, libraries, parks, public works and environmental protection. About 80 percent of our revenue comes from property taxes (real estate and personal property).

How does Virginia get money? ›

That general fund budget is funded mostly through individual income taxes plus the sales tax. Corporate income tax revenue is smaller as a share of state income tax revenue than in the past. Virginia's corporate income tax provided 15% of Virginia's income tax revenue in 1980 compared to just 10% last year.

Who prepares the local budget? ›

Budget Development

The chief executive or local government CEO (e.g., city manager, town manager, county manager) drafts a recommended budget through their budget office. Department directors solicit input from program managers within their department.

Who does budget preparation? ›

The responsibility for preparing the budget usually lies with the ministry of finance with input from the line ministries and some smaller spending agencies.

Who prepares budgets? ›

Federal agencies create budget requests and submit them to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB refers to the agencies' requests as it develops the budget proposal for the president. The president submits the budget proposal to Congress early the next year.

Who prepares the states budget? ›

The process starts when the governor submits a proposed budget (in some states this happens before the start of the legislative session). Then it proceeds to the legislature, which holds the lion's share of authority over the budget's final form.


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