Feb 24, 2023 - Politics

The General Assembly's $1 billion tax fight, explained

Illustration of the Virginia State Capitol with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn Saturday morning, but first lawmakers have to resolve a standoff over $1 billion in tax cuts proposed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

State of play: It doesn't look like they're going to make their deadline.

Why it matters: The debate is front and center in broader negotiations over the state budget, meaning it has the potential to delay action on a host of other legislative priorities.

  • Those include raises for state employees and teachers and more resources for the state's beleaguered mental health system.

Zoom in: Youngkin and Republicans in the House want to cut the corporate tax rate from 6% to 5%, shave a quarter percent off the individual income tax rate and boost the state's standard deduction.

  • Meanwhile, the Democratic-led Senate wants to put the $1 billion Youngkin has budgeted for tax cuts toward K-12 education and even more funding for mental health programs.

What they're saying: Last week, Youngkin floated a filibuster of sorts, positing that he'd be content for lawmakers to go home without a budget deal and instead take it up during a special session he could call this summer.

  • "I’m in no hurry; I’m here all summer," he said at an event at a Henrico diner, per the Times-Dispatch.

Meanwhile, lawmakers from both parties, who are gearing up for General Assembly elections later this year, have not sounded particularly interested in dragging out the debate.

  • "Mr. Speaker has been very clear that he doesn't believe the House needs to return for a special session," House Speaker Todd Gilbert's spokesman, Garren Shipley, told Axios.

Yes, but: That has so far not translated into the speedy resolution that would be necessary for the Assembly to adjourn tomorrow as scheduled.

Between the lines: With no budget deal presented as of Thursday, the earliest lawmakers could leave Richmond would be Sunday.

  • That's assuming a budget compromise is presented Friday and lawmakers opt against waiving the customary 48-hour waiting period before voting on the document.

What we're watching: Whether lawmakers in leadership are discreetly extending their hotel bookings.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Richmond.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Richmond stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Richmond.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more