Northam is making budget announcements, final decision isn’t in his hands

Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 9:23 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) - Governor Ralph Northam has introduced his budget, which includes raises for teachers and public safety officer, however the decision isn’t all up to him.

“The outgoing governor basically leaves a copy of the budget on his desk for the General Assembly to start with,” 57th District Delegate Sally Hudson said.

“He will not be the governor when when the bill actually comes to the desk, and this is just the nature of having a governor that changes every four years,” 58th District Delegate Rob Bell said.

Starting with the Northam plan, the Virginia House and Senate will offer amendments before Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin takes a look.

“Informally, there will be negotiations between the House and the Senate and the new administration about what sorts of agreements they can all come together on so that there aren’t too many amendments from the governor-elect,” Hudson said.

“The groups are talking with each other as it goes so that you don’t see quite as big changes as you would otherwise, and then ultimately the governor is presented with a budget and then he would sign it or veto it,” Bell said.

Some of Northam’s goals include $27.4 million to address gun violence, $2 billion for broadband expansion, and raising pay for many public service workers.

“One of the things that you can see in the governor’s budget that I very much appreciate is that he’s playing catch up on the states under investment in a lot of core public services for the last few years,” Hudson said.

However nothing is set in stone.

“Certainly there’s been talk about broadband, there’s been talk about eliminating grocery tax, but in terms of all of those together, we don’t know yet,” Bell said.

It’s a long process that involves both administrations.

“The new administration can’t possibly write its own budget because they’ll just be finding their offices when the General Assembly convenes, and so it makes sense that the process starts with the outgoing governor. The General Assembly does some work and then by March and April, the new administration will be set in and will be able to review our draft of that process,” Hudson said.

Governor-elect Youngkin will sign the final version of the bill in the spring and the new budget will go into effect in July.

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