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Youngkin proposes $400M tax relief fund, shares administration priorities

Governor Glenn Youngkin clasps his hands and smiles.
“When government collects more money than it anticipates, and rightfully spends less than it plans, it only makes sense to give the money back to the people who earned it,” Gov. Glenn Youngkin said Friday. (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

Gov. Glenn Youngkin proposed creating a $400 million taxpayer relief fund during a Friday meeting with state budget negotiators. 

“When government collects more money than it anticipates, and rightfully spends less than it plans, it only makes sense to give the money back to the people who earned it,” Youngkin said. 

He said the state has about $3 billion in surplus cash from unplanned tax revenue and budgeted money that went unspent. 

Most of that cash is spoken for. About $900 million must go to the state’s rainy day fund and about $585 million is already committed to programs in the current state budget, including sending cash to the state’s retirement system, water quality improvement fund and more. Another $1.2 billion will be reappropriated. 

The rest, Youngkin said, will go back to the proposed tax relief pot. He will include that program in his first budget proposal, due in December. 

Sally Hudson smiles with her arms crossed.
Del. Sally Hudson (Photo: Courtesy UVA)

Del. Sally Hudson (D-Charlottesville) told VPM News, “it sounds like that’s the only idea [Youngkin] has for how to invest in Virginia.” 

She said state lawmakers have persistently underfunded public services, citing the ongoing nursing-home staffing shortage and the estimated $25 billion it would take to replace school buildings across the state that are more than 50 years old.

“These are not luxuries, these are core public services,” Hudson said. “And when we have unexpected revenue, we should be paying down those major deficits that we owe Virginians.” 

Youngkin also spoke on key policy goals for his administration during the next year, including focusing on public safety. He said he’ll encourage collaboration between state, local and federal police departments to halt rising violent crime. He also pointed to rising housing costs as a key issue for his administration. 

“The cost to rent or buy a home is too expensive,” Youngkin said. “Skyrocketing real estate taxes driven by inflation, a shortage of supply caused by overburdensome local governments, rising rents and waitlists for apartments have become too normal in the commonwealth.” 

Hudson said she was glad to hear Youngkin’s commitment to bringing down housing costs. 

“Housing is the biggest share of anybody’s paycheck, and so any conversation about the rising cost of living has to start with housing,” she said. 

Youngkin also said that the commonwealth is behind on its commitment to reduce pollution from the state that ends up in the Chesapeake Bay. He emphasized the state’s agricultural best management practices program as a key tool to reach that goal. 

After the governor submits his first budget proposal to lawmakers in December, the General Assembly will convene in January to make changes to the document.