Sep 6, 2023 - News

Virginia lawmakers finally return to Richmond to pass a budget

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

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

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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