Virginia lawmakers finally return to Richmond to pass a budget
They're only six months late.
What's happening: State lawmakers are back in Richmond Wednesday to vote on long-delayed amendments to the state budget.
The big picture: Tax breaks and teacher raises are front and center in the compromise finally reached between Republicans in the House and Democrats in the Senate.
Republicans settled for $200-per-person rebate checks instead of permanent tax cuts sought by Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
- They also landed a temporary increase in the state's standard deduction, which should trim tax bills for many filers.
Meanwhile, Democrats have sounded most excited about increased school funding, including a 2% salary increase for teachers, which would go into effect Jan. 1.
- That's in addition to an already-planned 5% salary increase, meaning teachers are looking at a 7% bump over the past two years, per the Virginia Mercury.
- The budget also includes $420 million in new instructional funding aimed at helping students overcome pandemic-era learning loss.
Zoom out: Other big focuses include economic development initiatives, water quality improvement and higher education.
- That includes $75 million in funding to prepare sites for industrial development, $75 million to help state colleges and universities offset inflation ($10.4 million of which will go to VCU) and $110 million in extra funding for projects aimed at cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.
What's next: Lawmakers are scheduled to gavel in at 10am for what is expected to be a one-day special session.
- Last-minute amendments are rare, making it a safe bet the document will pass as drafted.
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