Opinion — Special session

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, March 31, 2022

Glenn Youngkin, Governor of Virginia, issued a proclamation on March 23rd summoning the members of the Senate and the House of Delegates to meet in Special Session commencing on Monday, April 4, for the purpose of the completion of the 2023-2024 biennial budget and unfinished legislation.

When we adjourned Sine Die on March 12, there was a great deal of work left to be done Republicans were ready to stay and keep working on the budget and other important legislation that remained in conference.

House Republicans came to Richmond to get this work done. It should have been easy. Virginia’s finances are flush with cash, and there’s broad agreement on things that need to be in our budget – raises for teachers, more money for schools and law enforcement.

The House version of the budget – which the Senate has rejected – contained $5 billion in tax relief that Virginians need and deserve, including tax rebates of up to $300 for every tax filer and up to $600 for couples.

We ended the grocery tax and doubled the standard income tax deduction to put more money back in your paycheck. We also exempted the first $40,000 in veteran retirement benefits from income taxes.

Democrats in the Senate, however, wanted to go home and refused to continue working.

The House position on the budget remains the same as it was on March 12: tax relief for hard-pressed Virginia families is a priority.

Our budget contains more than $5 billion in tax relief to make life easier for those struggling with skyrocketing gas and food prices.

Since we adjourned, the Governor has proposed a gas tax holiday that would lower the price of gas by 26 cents per gallon immediately, saving working families more than $100 each.

Democrats, however, refuse to even entertain the idea.

Virginia’s coffers have seen a windfall unlike anything we’ve seen before – billions in unanticipated revenue have poured in.

We can easily cut taxes without skimping on investments in transportation and education, among other areas.

Our budget will make record investments in education, including leveraging $2 billion in new school construction funding – all without raising taxes, and providing tax relief.

Democrats, however, would rather spend the money than help working families.

Regardless, the session will convene, organize, and let the Governor know that we are ready to proceed with business.

How long the session lasts depends largely on the willingness of Senate Democrats to compromise.

I will continue to fight for you and represent our values in Richmond. It’s simple. Parents know what’s best for their families. Virginians know what’s best with their hard-earned money.

I will continue to work with Governor Youngkin for Virginians by keeping Richmond out of their wallets.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at DelTWright@House.Virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.