Virginia Lawmakers Convene to Approve Budget Changes
By Carolyn Fiddler
September 6, 2023

Virginia’s state legislature met on Wednesday in a brief special session to officially approve the budget deal negotiators announced last week.

Gov. Glenn Younkin is expected to sign off on the budget amendments, despite the fact that he and his fellow Republicans won few of the concessions they were after.

They sought  permanent tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest individuals, but instead, a significant amount of the commonwealth’s budget surplus will be returned to taxpayers via one-time rebates of $200 for individuals and $400 for couples.

In addition to these rebates, here are some key provisions of the budget agreement:

  • $645 million for public education, almost $55 million of which will go toward an additional 2% salary increase for public school teachers expected to go into effect Jan. 1, 2024. When combined with an already planned 5% salary increase, teachers will receive an overall 7% salary bump over the past two years. Another $152 million will go toward additional support and instructional positions. Almost $420 million will go toward “flexible one-time payments” to school divisions for pandemic-related learning loss recovery, operating and infrastructure support, and preparation for the rollout of the Virginia Literacy Act.
  • $190 million for Virginia colleges and universities. Of this, $62 million will go towards need-based financial aid, and $14.6 million will be allocated to the Virginia Community College System. Additionally, almost $5.8 million will be put toward increased compensation for faculty at nursing schools to help stem shortages in the field.
  • $58 million to expand and modernize the state’s behavioral health crisis services system. An additional $10 million will be put toward establishing mobile crisis services in underserved regions. Staff working in community-based behavioral health and developmental disability services will receive pay raises thanks to additional funding.
  • $286 million for grants designed to help farmers who engage in agricultural best practices to reduce water pollution. Another $151 million will go to a program to speed up wastewater treatment plant improvements to reduce pollution. An additional $100 million will go to a fund that helps the state funnel assistance to local governments and property owners impacted by flooding.
  • $44 million to fund state employee raises.

Restoration of Virginia’s back-to-school sales tax holiday that the governor and lawmakers forgot to reenact this year.

  • Carolyn Fiddler

    Carolyn Fiddler is Dogwood's chief political correspondent. She is also the nation’s foremost expert in state politics with almost two decades of experience in statehouse machinations, and her comic book collection is probably bigger than yours.

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