NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — With the Virginia General Assembly’s final passage of the state biannual budget more than a month late, several Democrat delegates from the Virginia Peninsula are trying to rally support behind their party’s plan.
Tuesday, Del. Mike Mullin (D-Jamestown), Del. Shelly Simonds (D-Newport News) and Del. Jeion Ward (D-Hampton) called members of the media to the Newport News Redevelopment & Housing Authority Great Oak For The Elderly to plead their case for the Virginia Senate’s plan that is currently roughly $3 billion apart from the House of Delegates plan.
The Senate has a Democrat majority while the House is led by Republicans.
The delayed budget casts doubt on local budgets as well. Also in attendance were local elected officials from the Newport News City Council and School Board, Hampton City Council and James City County Board of Supervisors.
“The Senate’s vision for the budget … favors public education and economic relief for working families,” Mullin said. “Gov. Youngkin’s and the House plan unfortunately does not.”
Mullin, along with Simonds and Ward, highlighted funding included for 10% teacher raises, $49 million for local police officers and the economic relief for working families – such as the Earned Income Tax Credit which puts more money in the hands of community members.
While Republicans have an 8% teacher raise, as well as raises for law enforcement, it calls for a lowered gas tax — which Republicans argue is economic relief for working families.
Supervisor John McGlennon, chair of the James City County Board of Supervisors, is backing the Senate’s budget plan, but emphasized lawmakers need to quickly pass a budget in general.
Currently local governments and school boards are trying to work through their fiscal year 2023 budgets and base their decisions on the amount of state funds they expect.
“There aren’t very many school districts across the state that just do a little bit more than the state’s standards of quality; we are all doing a lot more,” McGlennon said. “And we doing it with our own dollars and it is time for the state to recognize that it is asking for us to do more but not providing us those resources.”
10 On Your Side’s Capital Bureau previously reported the hold up appears to center around standard tax deductions.
The plan, backed by Youngkin and the Republican majority in the House of Delegates, would raise Virginia’s standard deduction from $4,500 to $9,000 for individuals. For married couples, it would increase from $9,000 to $18,000.
However, Democrats have argued doubling the standard deduction would exclude some low-income Virginians. The Commonwealth Institute echoed those concerns in an analysis in January.
Mullin also said tax rebates proposed by both chambers is currently another sticking point.