Governor proposes 38 budget amendments, including gas tax holiday

Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 7:22 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has offered 38 amendments to the budget bills that state lawmakers passed earlier this month.

The proposals include language authorizing a three-month gas tax holiday.

Other amendments, according to Youngkin aides, are related to education, public safety and economic development.

They include an amendment that would expand the number of educational institutions authorized to establish laboratory schools.

One would require institutions of higher education to develop plans to “support freedom of expression and inquiry, free speech, academic freedom, and diversity of thought.”

One would prohibit the use of state funds for abortion services.

Others would limit eligibility for earned sentence credits for inmates convicted of certain offenses, and restrict demonstrations outside courthouses and the homes of judges and other court officials.

Virginia lawmakers return to Richmond Friday to act on the Governor’s amendments. The current two-year spending plan expires at the end of the month.

More information on amendments can be found here at HB 29 and HB 30.

ORIGINAL STORY: Virginia lawmakers should bring down the curtain on the state’s budget drama later this week, but they are still writing the final act.

When Senator John Edwards (D-21) and Delegates Joe McNamara (R-8) and Sam Rasoul (D-11) met with the Roanoke Kiwanis Club Wednesday, they were still waiting for word on proposed amendments from Governor Glenn Youngkin.

But Youngkin has made no secret of at least one priority - taking another shot at a gas tax holiday.

“We’ll see what the Governor’s amendments are. Some could be controversial, so we’ll wait and see,” Edwards said in an interview.

“Hopefully, we can get this done quickly, which has been my hope, so that we can get tax relief to Virginians ASAP,” Rasoul told WDBJ7.

“So, we’ll have some opportunities. I think we’ll have some lively discussions. I look forward to it,” said McNamara.

The bills they passed earlier this month, the lawmakers said, represented a compromise that was good for southwest Virginia and for the state, with a mix of spending on important priorities in western Virginia, and substantial relief for Virginia taxpayers.

Wednesday morning in Richmond, Governor Youngkin provided a strong indication that one of his amendments would deal with the gas tax holiday.

“The number one thing I hear from Virginians is runaway inflation and gas prices,” Youngkin told reporters. “I need Democrats to help me. We need to come together and put politics aside and do what is right for Virginians. And that is to suspend the gas tax.”

Democrats have opposed a gas tax holiday, because they say it won’t guarantee savings at the pump, and will take important dollars from critical highway improvements.

Lawmakers return to the Capitol Friday to act on the Governor’s amendments.

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