Governor Glenn Youngkin is celebrating his first 100 days in office with a video highlighting key accomplishments including an executive order banning divisive concepts in schools; signing a bipartisan school mask mandate ban; bipartisan legislation protecting cats and dogs; and welcoming businesses to Virginia.
“It has been an honor to serve the people of Virginia over the first 100 days and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together in a short period of time. I will continue to work on behalf of all Virginians to lower the cost of living, keep our communities safe, make government work for the people again and restore academic excellence in our schools,” the governor said in a Thursday press release.
“I think this is the commonsense approach that Virginians were looking for when they elected us,” Youngkin said in the video.
Youngkin’s release also highlights actions including two COVID action plans, creating a task force to address a lack of placements for children in foster care, and that he “led Virginia through three winter storms.”
Many of Youngkin’s big-ticket priorities have been slowed or stopped in the General Assembly, which is split between a Republican-controlled House and a Democrat-controlled Senate.
That includes a lack of a budget for the period beginning in July. With booming revenues, Youngkin and the House of Delegates have pushed forward a budget proposal with substantial tax relief proposals, while the Senate has preferred smaller tax cuts reflecting a more cautious approach with an eye toward a potentially tough future. That basic approach to revenues then affects how much money is available in each proposal for spending on items like wage increases for state employees.
Youngkin has convened a special General Assembly session to try to motivate action on finalizing a budget compromise, but behind-the-scenes negotiations between conferees has so far yielded few public results.
Conferee Senator George Barker (D-Fairfax) told The Virginia Star that a compromise will probably be ready in May.
“We’re making good progress,” he said at the reconvened General Assembly session on April 27.
With negotiations happening behind closed doors, public partisan battling has attracted media attention, but Barker said that clash has only affected negotiations “a little bit.”
He said he wasn’t at liberty to share details of negotiations like the status of Youngkin’s proposal to double the standard deduction, but he said that the slow pace has allowed conferees time to comb through the details of each proposal.
“We have either resolved or [will reach] a tentative resolution that depends on how other pieces of [the budget] come together,” he said.
Since Youngkin took office, revenues have exceeded earlier forecasts. The governor has used that to argue that there is room both for tax relief and spending increases in key areas.
“We’ve been helped by the substantial amount of additional revenue before finishing out this biennium and then what we’ll see for the two years starting on July 1,” Barker said.
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