State budget deal within reach, lawmakers say

Published: Aug. 23, 2023 at 7:23 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - House and Senate negotiators are said to be close to an agreement on the state budget.

But as Gov. Glenn Youngkin addressed the General Assembly money committees Wednesday in Richmond, the negotiations continued.

And so far, there’s no word that they’ve reached a deal.

“Thank you for inviting me to address this body of legislators at a time when we are faced with great opportunities and the need to come together,” Youngkin told the lawmakers.

He came before the money committees to deliver year-end financial results that include a multi-billion dollar surplus - and to make the case there’s enough money for major tax relief and additional spending to address critical needs including public education.

“If we want our current moment of growth to continue, if we want our businesses and communities to thrive, our course for the current budget is clear. Please send me one,” he said.

The budget conferees have been meeting in Richmond this week, holding their first face-to-face talks in several weeks.

After the meeting, the Associated Press reported, Republican and Democratic leaders said they expect to reach agreement on the budget in the next few days.

The deal will likely include tax relief in the form of one-time rebates of $200 for individuals and $400 for couples.

Gov. Youngkin said he was willing to accept one-time tax relief now, if the legislature takes up permanent tax cuts next year.

“There’s no question the budget became a political hostage, because of the fall elections,” said WDBJ7 Political Analyst Bob Denton.

But Denton said the political calculus has changed, and both parties are more now willing to compromise.

“And so they need to go forward with this budget,” Denton said, “and it will bring comfort to many agencies, primarily localities across the Commonwealth.”

Wednesday afternoon, one of the budget conferees from our part of Virginia said they were still working but had nothing to report.

And he was not offering any predictions on when we might see a final package.