Virginia Viewpoint – March 18, 2022 – St. Patrick’s Day – Where is the pot of gold?
March 18, 2022
March 18, 2022
While the General Assembly’s regular session ended on March 12, it did so without passing a new state budget. Senate Democrats made it clear they would not agree to extend the Session past 60 days, therefore the budget bills and a handful of other pieces of legislation will be addressed during a Special Session. Once there is a compromise on the Budget, Governor Youngkin will call the General Assembly back for a Special Session.
Even though legislators have returned to their homes, families, and day jobs, the work on the budget continues. The House and Senate negotiators (budget conferees) continue to meet, working towards a compromise. There is a $3 billion dollar gap between the two budgets. Some of the major differences are tax cuts (including eliminating the grocery sales tax), increasing the standard deduction and education funding. A late addition to the budget discussion is a suspension of the gas tax. While not ideal to leave town without completing all of their work, the additional time allows for thoughtful discussion outside of the glare of Session and gives stakeholders and grassroots groups more time to contact legislators over their key budgetary concerns.
Even with thin majorities and differing political control of the House and Senate, some of Governor Youngkin’s legislative priorities received bipartition support and passed including:
Measures that failed to pass were:
The Governor released the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (“RGGI”) Report from DEQ’s review of the impact of RGGI and his proposal to remove Virginia from participating. The Governor believes it is a “carbon tax” on Virginia’s citizens and a “bad deal”. The full report can be found here.
The Senate also blocked four of Governor Youngkin’s appointments to the Parole Board and one appointee to the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Board in retaliation for the House removing 11 of former Governor Ralph Northam appointees to executive agencies and boards and failing to confirm Angela Navarro for a full term on the State Corporation Commission. The Senate also rejected Governor Youngkin’s pick for Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources, former EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.
By LAURA VOZZELLA AND GREGORY S. SCHNEIDER, Washington Post (Metered Paywall – 3 articles a month)
The General Assembly wrapped up its 60-day session Saturday without an agreement on the two-year state budget or dozens of other bills, kicking all of that legislation down the road for a special session. The budget impasse reflects the new political reality in Virginia’s divided Capitol, where Republicans regained the House and Executive Mansion after two years in the political wilderness and Democrats who control the Senate have found ways to flex their limited power. But legislators and Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) were nevertheless upbeat about prospects for reaching consensus soon.
By MEL LEONOR, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall – 7 articles a month)
Virginia legislators closed out their 60-day regular session Saturday without approving the state’s budget, teeing up a special session in the coming weeks to finish their work. Budget negotiators remained at loggerheads over a package of planned tax cuts, namely, a proposed elimination of the state’s grocery tax and an increase of the state’s standard deduction on the individual income tax.
By SARAH RANKIN, Associated Press
Virginia’s divided part-time Legislature, unable to reach an agreement on a budget, opted to adjourn Saturday and reconvene later at the call of the governor to finish the year’s work. Both chambers agreed to a resolution Saturday that allows the budget bills and a wide range of other measures that were still being negotiated to be carried over to a special session.
By MICHAEL MARTZ AND MEL LEONOR, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall – 7 articles a month)
Unable to come to a resolution on the state budget, Virginia House and Senate leaders say they expect to adjourn the regular session of the General Assembly Saturday, giving negotiators more time to bridge their differences in anticipation of a special session. Senate Democrats Friday afternoon made clear to Republicans that their caucus would not vote to extend the session past the constitution’s prescribed 60 days. That could spell trouble for Gov. Glenn Youngkin, whose hands would be tied from making certain appointments if lawmakers then decide not to adjourn the special session.
By SARAH VOGELSONG, Virginia Mercury
Power producers in the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic carbon market known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative paid a record price for carbon allowances in the first auction of 2022, which netted Virginia $74.2 million for flood protection and low-income energy efficiency programs. . . . Under current state law, $37.1 million of that money must go to the Community Flood Preparedness Fund, which supports local flood protection efforts, while just over $33 million must go toward low-income energy efficiency programs run by the Department of Housing and Community Development. But while the proceeds signal another year of RGGI revenues that far exceed initial projections by state budget officials, Virginia’s future in the market remains uncertain.
By ALI SULLIVAN, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall – 2 articles a month)
A mandatory return to the office in February after a few months of omicron-induced remote work came with sticker shock for one Virginia Beach resident. Sarah now fills her Toyota Corolla with gas twice a week, shelling out about $30 each time, to make the daily 36-mile roundtrip commute between her Oceanfront home and the downtown Norfolk office where she works at a real estate company. “We have to watch our budget carefully and just change our driving habits,” said Sarah, who asked to be identified by only her first name because she didn’t want to be seen as speaking critically about her job. Gas prices in Virginia have surged in the past week.
By JOHN CRANE, Danville Register & Bee
As the court battle over skill games continues, businesses with the machines may become classified as adult-oriented establishments in the city. Next month, Danville City Council will consider whether to lump stores and other facilities that offer electronic skill games for their customers with adult businesses such as adult bookstores, adult theaters and cabarets under city code. Skill games establishments are currently classified as commercial indoor recreation.
By ALISON GRAHAM, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall – 5 articles a month)
Season Kincke picked up plastic cups and food containers from a tray as Mary Lou Rakes settled into the blue recliner in her room at The Glebe Retirement Community. “How do you need to be set up?” Kincke asked. “I know you need your tray. Do you need your pillow over here?” . . . Kincke, The Glebe’s quality assurance director, left Rakes’ room and walked down the hall to the next resident. Kincke has worked at The Glebe for close to four years. As quality assurance director, she investigates fall incidents and develops solutions to prevent accidents and ensure the best quality care for residents. She’s also a registered nurse, and during the COVID-19 pandemic has picked up floor shifts to cover gaps in staffing.
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