The General Assembly will reconvene its special session on June 1, ahead of a June 30 deadline to complete the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Since the end of the session, budget negotiators have been tight-lipped about progress on a compromise, but have said they expect one in late May.
House Republicans and Governor Glenn Youngkin have pushed for a budget that includes substantial tax relief and tax cuts, including doubling the standard deduction. That limits how much revenue remains to spend on items including raises for state employees. The Senate has pushed for larger raises as well as to use Virginia’s revenue surpluses for one-time spending.
Debate over the budget lasted past the end of the regular session, and Youngkin called a special session to continue work on the bills. So far, legislators met for one day in the special session in April.
Now, legislators are reporting that they’ve been recalled to vote on the budget and other bills awaiting a compromise, although details of the budget compromise still haven’t been published. They’ll also have another chance to vote on Youngkin’s gas tax holiday proposal. The Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee killed the Senate version earlier this spring, but the House version is still advancing in committee.
Gas taxes in Virginia are again breaking records. On Tuesday, State Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) posted a picture of a gas receipt with prices at $4.459 a gallon.
“Ridiculous! Know I’ll be voting in support of reducing the gas tax next Wednesday when we go back into session,” Chase wrote.
Legislation to attract the Washington Commanders to Virginia also awaits a compromise. On Monday, ESPN reported that the team spent over $100 million for a 200-acre site in Prince William County, but is still considering options outside Virginia. House Appropriations Committee Chair Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach), also the top Republican budget negotiator, has sounded a neutral tone about incentives for the team, and warned that he won’t approve legislation that’s a bad deal for Virginia, while others including Youngkin and Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax) have sounded more enthusiastic about the chance to have a NFL team in the Commonwealth.
Delegate Danica Roem (D-Prince William) has expressed concerns about a new stadium increasing the amount of vehicles in the already congested I-95 corridor.
“I’m still voting no,” Roem tweeted Tuesday.
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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Danica Roem” by Danica Roem. Background Photo “Virginia Capitol” by Doug Kerr. CC BY-SA 2.0.