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Virginia is one step closer to a state budget

Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 11:01 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) - After a months-long stalemate, Virginia lawmakers have finally come to an agreement on a budget. It passed the House Wednesday, June 1.

The vote comes more than two months after lawmakers left the regular session in March. Now there is an agreement on its way to the governor’s desk.

Lawmakers are hoping it will bring some relief to Virginians struggling with soaring food prices.

“Inflation, gas prices are huge issues. All of us have to deal with it in the best way we can, we’re in a really tough spot right now from an economic standpoint,” 25th District Senator Creigh Deeds said.

Deeds says he hopes if this budget is signed by Governor Glenn Youngkin, Virginians will see some relief from the pressure on their wallets.

“We’re going to get through it. We passed a budget that I hope will give people some relief,” Deeds said.

“There’s going to be one-time rebate checks going out in the mail later this year, and lowering the grocery tax. That’s all very good,” 57th District Delegate Sally Hudson said.

Some of this relief will be seen in standard income tax deductions and at the grocery store.

“They’re also going to see tax relief for the long haul because we dramatically increase the standard deduction, which means that everybody will get to keep a higher share of their earnings,” Hudson said.

“Like any budget, it’s a compromise,” 58th District representative Delegate Rob Bell said.

“For a long time, members of both parties have wanted to do away with sales tax on food,” Deeds said. “To do away with the whole sales tax on food, two-and-a-half cents on a purchase, two-and-a-half cents per 100, is very difficult to do.”

The proposed budget would do away with the state’s part of the tax - 1.5%.

“It will eliminate the grocery tax at the state level. Now, there’s still a local tax, but it eliminates the state portion of the grocery tax,” Bell said.

Hudson and Deeds spoke about some areas where the budget fell short for them: Hudson mentioned areas like affordable housing, and Deeds mentioned mental health.

“It was sad to see that even with record surplus funding, that we couldn’t go all in on that,” Hudson said.

The budget is expected to reach Gov. Youngkin’s desk sometime next week. After it does, he will have seven days to approve it, veto it, or offer amendments.

A budget must be in place by July 1 to avoid a government shut down.

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