Tax cuts, education costs are at the center of the battle for the Virginia budget

The Governor of Richmond, Virginia (WRIC) Glenn Youngkin advanced his plans to cut taxes on Thursday when the General Assembly voted in favor of competing spending visions.

The House of Representatives and the Senate approved an amended version of the two-year budget, originally drafted by Governor Ralph Nortem’s administration before his term expires. Both sides will need to compromise before a final version can be agreed.

The tax-cut package backed by the Republican-controlled House of Delegates is about $ 5.3 billion, well above the $ 2.5 billion proposed by the Senate.

Although the House of Representatives budget does not cut existing funding for public schools, the Senate plan allocates new funding of $ 915 million, according to Ashley K. Kenneth, president and director general of the Commonwealth Institute.

Youngkin said in a previous statement that the Senate is not doing enough to lower the cost of living. He reiterated calls for a drastic tax cut during a visit to the National Aerospace Institute in Hampton Rose.

“As governor, I can’t do much about inflationary pressures. What we can do is reduce taxes. What we can do is remove the extra burden that has been placed on the already rising cost of living, ”Yangkin said.

Both budgets with different approaches reduce taxes on food and personal care products. The Senate version abolishes only 1.5% of the state portion of the food tax, and the House of Representatives cuts the entire tax to 2.5%, including the local component of 1%.

Taxpayers will also receive a portion of the money on both plans in the form of a one-time refund. Individual participants are expected to receive $ 300 and joint participants $ 600.

The House of Representatives goes further, temporarily suspending the gas tax increase and doubling the standard deduction, among other changes supported by Governor Yangkin.

Senator Emmett Hanger, a Republican representing Augusta, is one of those who advocates tax reform research before taking further action on standard deductions.

“Some of these major changes need a little more thought,” Henger said.

The lower price tag for tax cuts in the Senate budget means there is more revenue available for priorities such as education.

“Virginians want K-12 schools to be fully funded. This is more of a priority than tax breaks, ”McClellan said.

The Senate maintains a 5% increase in each of the next two years proposed by Governor North for educators, and adds a $ 1,000 bonus that will also be given to civil servants. The Chamber reduces this increase to 4% and the bonus by 1% each year.

Both budgets add money for staff, but differently. The chamber has offered an additional $ 104 million for directors and assistant directors. The Senate is allocating nearly $ 272 million to increase the positions of support staff such as bus drivers, librarians and school nurses. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives plan to overturn Nortem’s proposal to increase the number of teachers for English-speaking students.

According to breakdown of the budget for “Fund our schools”, The Chamber allocates less money per student compared to the Senate. Differences vary depending on geography and poverty level.

Funding for the construction of the school is included in both budgets. The Senate is offering $ 500 million in one-time grants to school departments, while the Chamber is allocating $ 541.7 million to a targeted loan repayment program for local school departments.

The Senate budget is particularly short of $ 150 million to launch new innovative lab schools, the only component of Yangkin’s school selection program that seems viable in a divided government.

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