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Bipartisanship prevails as Virginia state budget is approved

After months of back and forth, Virginia finally has a state budget.

“This has been a protracted process, but working together with the senate and the governor, we have developed a product that all parties believe will meet the need of the Commonwealth,” House Appropriations Chair Luke Torian (D) said.

The General Assembly reconvened for a special session on Monday after disagreements with the Governor prompted them to scrap the original budget bill altogether.

“What we have demonstrated is that if we are willing to sit around the table and have meaningful conversations, then we arrive at a product that is good for the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Torian said.

But what’s different this time around? Not as much as you may have expected.

The main change comes in the way of tax increases.

Governor Youngkin has said time and time again that he won’t sign a budget that raises taxes.

There had previously been discussion on sales tax on digital aspects, like streaming services – but now that’s off the table.

“It eliminates the tax modernization bill that had been included in House Bill 30 as adopted by the House,” Torian said.

During the budget process, education and teacher pay have been a hot topic.

And in both years of this new biennial budget, the General Assembly made sure to include three percent raises for teachers and support staff.

“Placing our teachers not just at the national average but projected to be above the national average,” Youngkin said.

Youngkin said the bill was an effort by all, showing bipartisanship.

“I want to thank leadership on all sides. Because everyone put an oar in the water and helped get this done,” Youngkin said.

He said it demonstrates a key idea to Virginians.

“Your elected officials, who sometimes find themselves very far apart on policy, can come together and deliver,” Youngkin said.

Source: WSLS News 10

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