Richmond, Virginia—On Monday, Virginia legislators gathered for a Special Session ordered by Governor Glenn Youngkin. Lawmakers were tasked with passing a state budget that would invest into our communities and expand work geared towards creating a Commonwealth where everyone can thrive, regardless of their race, gender identity, immigration status, zip code, or income level. However, after less than 2 hours, meetings in the House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia were adjourned without the House and Senate budget conferees even meeting.
Delegate Mike Mullin took his frustrations to Twitter on Monday afternoon, saying the hard working taxpayers of Virginia would have benefited more if the budget conferees “met amongst themselves and hammered things out” without requiring everyone else to come to Richmond,on the taxpayer’s expense.
A few areas of contention and disagreement that need to be reconciled in the budget are taxes, healthcare, housing, school funding, and funding for local police.
“We need a budget that focuses on what is best for all of our community members, not just the white and wealthy who look like Glenn Youngkin,” LaTwyla Mathias, Executive Director of Progress Virginia said. “What is best for all of our community members right now is not squandering $50,000 for no reason. When it comes to supporting hardworking families in Virginia, more care and common sense must be used in order to adopt a budget that will make better use of Virginia’s limited resources and allow everyone to flourish. That dollar amount is a drop in the bucket for rich men like Glenn Youngkin, but for hardworking Virginians, that amount is equivalent to a year’s salary or even funding for a much needed community service. This is more proof as to how out of touch Glenn Youngkin is with the needs of Virginians. We need him to be more fiscally responsible with our money, and set our legislators up for success by not wasting their time.”
Inside the Budget Battle [Cardinal News, by Markus Schmidt]
“When lawmakers adjourned after a short work day at the state Capitol that rang in the special session Monday, they went home to their districts without doing what they came to do – vote on the state’s biennial budget.”
“For Youngkin, the budget is a crucial component of his ability to make good on his campaign promise to provide Virginians with tax relief, among a slew of other things. But without a budget, his hands are tied.”
“[Virginia’s budget process] is often a slow-moving, at times excruciating process that, unless all three branches of the state government are controlled by one party, requires the ability of all stakeholders, elected or not, to work together and compromise.”
“Virginia’s legislature adopts a two-year budget every other year, and unlike the federal government, the commonwealth must remain funded to avert a detrimental impact not only on the state government but localities relying on cash from the state. The biennial budget is enacted into law in even-numbered years, and amendments to it are enacted in odd-numbered years.”
“Developing the budget usually takes several months and involves many stakeholders, from state agencies to the legislature, and the public. During the development phase – usually in September – the governor and his cabinet work together with the Department of Planning and Budget to prepare a budget proposal based on several factors, particularly the administration’s priorities and a revenue forecast.”
“When the regular General Assembly session adjourned after 60 days on March 12, lawmakers went back home without a budget vote, because conferees were unable to close the $3 billion gap that still separates the spending bills of both parties, with most disagreements relating to different versions of tax relief.”