Virginia’s November elections won’t solely decide which political get together controls state authorities, but additionally how state cash will get spent – and who it helps and hurts.
Simply earlier than the upcoming legislative session, when the candidates elected subsequent month will assume their workplaces and perform the work of the individuals, Gov. Glenn Youngkin will unveil a brand new two-year finances. The governor’s finances is traditionally an important start line for negotiations over how taxpayer cash will probably be spent within the coming years and what the state’s priorities will probably be.
If Republicans win majority management of the state Home and Senate in November, Virginians can pretty anticipate Youngkin’s finances priorities to be enforce. And primarily based on Youngkin’s previous finances proposals, we now have some perception into what these priorities may very well be.
A significant a part of Youngkin’s finances proposals final 12 months centered round tax cuts that supplied the best profit for companies and the wealthiest Virginians.
“Particularly, the governor’s tax proposals … price $1 billion and a majority of the profit is reserved for worthwhile companies,” stated Ashley Kenneth, president and CEO of The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Evaluation, after Youngkin unveiled his proposals final December. “Moderately than guaranteeing companies pay their fair proportion, the governor’s plan would tax a household’s earnings at a better price than company income.”
Additional insights could also be gleaned from different finances suggestions that Youngkin tried to implement over his temporary tenure as governor.
For instance, measures Republicans tried to implement by way of the earlier 12 months’s state finances embody reducing the company tax price and establishing a enterprise tax lower that may primarily profit rich Virginians.
Virginia is at the moment working a finances surplus, however trusting the state’s fiscal good fortunes to proceed in perpetuity could be irresponsible. As an alternative of utilizing the excess to offset tax cuts for companies and the commonwealth’s highest earners, the Normal Meeting might put money into making a extra balanced tax construction for Virginians of all earnings ranges and boosting the state’s financial outlook by bettering training funding.
Over the summer time, a watchdog group for the Normal Meeting released a report detailing how Virginia’s flawed training funding formulation ends in continual underfunding of faculties all throughout the state. Republicans’ finances proposals over the previous couple of years have didn’t meaningfully put money into Virginia’s public training system, though this 12 months the Democratic majority within the state Senate succeeded in guaranteeing that faculties throughout the state acquired among the funding and help they so desperately want.
The finances settlement Democrats pushed for earlier this 12 months additionally helped cut back prices for Virginians insured below the Reasonably priced Care Act. The ultimate finances included almost $50 million for the state’s reinsurance program, which helped keep away from a projected 28.4% enhance in particular person premium charges.
Democrats have indicated that conserving healthcare prices low will stay a precedence for them.
“We all know that the healthcare system wants work. Most individuals are one hospital invoice away from residing in poverty,” stated Home Democratic Chief Don Scott.
Offering funding for the state’s reinsurance program helps “to make sure that the price of healthcare insurance coverage market premiums are diminished, ensuring that households have entry to care once they want it,” he continued.
Democrats have supported different measures that they’ll by no means be capable to implement if Republicans have majority management of 1 or each chambers after November.
One instance is Democratic Sen. Jennifer Boysko’s lease stabilization proposal, a measure she launched early this 12 months. If this legislation had handed, localities throughout the state would be capable to set up a cap on lease will increase that’s tied to regional adjustments within the Client Worth Index. At the moment, Virginia imposes no limits on how a lot a landlord can enhance a tenant’s lease every year. In 2022, Virginia ranked because the fifth-highest within the nation for one-bedroom lease will increase.
Early this 12 months, Democrats additionally tried to enact paid household and medical depart within the commonwealth. Beneficiaries would have acquired 80% of their common weekly wage for as much as 12 weeks per 12 months. The measure handed the Democratic-majority Senate however was killed by Republicans within the Home of Delegates. Democrats are more likely to suggest the measure once more in 2024, but when the GOP controls both chamber of the Normal Meeting subsequent 12 months, it’ll nearly actually fail once more.