State lawmakers react to budget compromise

Published: Sep. 4, 2023 at 10:45 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - We’re now just days away from a special session of the General Assembly, after House and Senate negotiators came to terms on the state budget.

And now we know more about what’s in, and what’s out of the package lawmakers will consider this week.

“I always heard that having too much money is as difficult as not having enough,” said Del. Terry Austin (R-Buchanan), “proved true, proved true.”

No one was happy with how long it took to reach an agreement. And there were difficult discussions - the extent of tax relief was a major sticking point.

“It was a long process, you know, we had a basic problem about one side wanted permanent tax cuts, and the other side didn’t,” said Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Charlottesville).

Lawmakers from both parties told us there were disappointments in the package that ultimately emerged, but they say it’s a compromise they can live with.

“Overall. on balance, I think it’s a very good budget,” said Del. Joe McNamara (R-Roanoke Co.). “I think the Commonwealth of Virginia and our citizens are going to be well served by it.”

“So we’re going to be putting roughly a billion dollars into public education, raises across the board for all of our hard-working public servants,” added Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke). “We’re going to be investing more in public health and at the same time giving one billion dollars in tax breaks in the form of checks going right back to Virginians, so I think there’s something on the table for everyone.”

It’s a good start perhaps, but also a preview of coming attractions, as lawmakers look to revisit their priorities in January.

“It’s certainly a step in the right direction in terms of what we were able to do in terms of K-12 education, and what we were able to do for behavioral health,” Deeds added. “We still have a lot of work to do.”

“I would have preferred to have a continuation in that tax relief, but we’re returning 200 and 400 dollars; that’s costing us 800 million dollars in revenue funds,” Austin explained, “so yeah, I would have preferred to have something different, but I’m satisfied with what he have.”