Delegate Joe McNamara
On Tuesday, Governor Youngkin signed a budget into law that is truly a win for Virginians. The long and the short of it: Virginia House Republicans got most of what we asked for on behalf of Virginians. This budget provides $4 billion in tax relief, makes record investments in public education, gives law enforcement the resources they need to keep us safe, and ultimately takes our great Commonwealth forward. Here are some of the highlights:
Tax Rebates to be Issued This Year
An immediate form of tax relief from this budget is rebates of $250 for individuals and $500 for couples. Rebates are likely to be distributed between July and November via mail or direct deposit. This will offer direct relief to the millions of Virginians fighting the effects of inflation. With gas, groceries, clothing, and essentially every other consumer good going up, every penny of these rebates will have an impact.
Standard Deduction Increase
This budget increases the standard deduction by 78% to $8,000 for individuals and $16,000 for couples. This is a direct tax cut for the vast majority of Virginians, 82% of whom claim the state standard deduction on their taxes. This will provide the average couple over $400 in annual tax savings. I was honored to carry legislation to double the standard deduction in the House, while Sen. Suetterlein carried identical legislation in the Senate. This is the largest tax reduction in Virginia history.
State Grocery Tax Repeal
Additionally, this budget supports my legislation to repeal the state’s 1.5% tax on groceries. This reduction will go into effect January 1, 2023. The local 1% tax on groceries will remain for now, but I will continue to work to fully eliminate the tax on groceries and essential hygiene products. I was close, but there was a lot of resistance from Senate Democrats on the full repeal.
When asked about negotiating with the other side, Ronald Reagan said “I have always figured that half a loaf is better than none and I know that in the democratic process, you’re not always going to get what you want.” In this case, we got more than half a loaf, but I can assure you: I’m going to ask for more.
The budget affirms the Commonwealth’s commitment to excellence in education. This invests a record $3.2 billion in direct aid to public education. It gives teachers a 10% raise over the next two years, and will offer $1.25 billion in grants and loans to support school construction across the state, something that is especially needed in Southwest Virginia. It also requires public colleges to adopt an official policy on academic freedom and begin reporting on the state of free expression and diversity of thought on college campuses. Again, this is an example of Governor Youngkin and House Republicans fighting far-left dogma at our public colleges and universities.
Fighting Crime and Violence
Virginians deserve to live in safe communities. That is why this budget provides $400 million in compensation and additional support for law enforcement and public safety officials. It also allocates $45 million to fund School Resource Officers to keep kids safe at school. $13 million will be offered to fund Project Ceasefire – a proven gun crime prevention program that addresses firearm abuses without targeting the rights of law-abiding citizens.
Keeping Bad Guys off the Streets
The General Assembly approved one of the Governor’s budget amendments to prevent the early release of over 500 violent inmates. This is a very necessary pivot from the pro-criminal policies of the Northam and McAuliffe administrations. I am thankful we have a Governor who puts victims first and criminals last.
The signing of the budget effectively wraps up the General Assembly’s work for 2022. I will be directing my efforts to helping re-elect Congressman Morgan Griffith and Congressman Ben Cline in the upcoming midterm elections. I look forward to seeing you at the doors as I stump for our great federal representatives. I will also be working on my legislative program for 2023, focusing on further improvements to Virginia’s tax structure and helping working families and small businesses. I also look forward to supporting legislation that will continue to advance conservative values in the Commonwealth.
As always, don’t hesitate to contact me if I can ever be of assistance. I am honored to be your Delegate.
Contact My Office
Session Mailing Address
Pocahontas Building, 900 E. Main St.
Richmond, VA 23219
District Mailing Address
P.O. Box 21094
Roanoke, VA 24018
Phone: (804)-698-1708 Session Number
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Robert Andrews, Legislative Aide