RICHMOND— Last week, Gov. Glenn Youngkin unveiled his proposed “Unleashing Opportunity” budget during a presentation to the General Assembly’s Joint Money Committee. The budget proposal, his office said, modernizes Virginia’s tax code and bolsters investments in job growth, workforce development, needed behavioral and mental health support for Virginians, safe communities, good governance measures and ushers in the largest education budget in Virginia’s history.
“Today, I am proud to present our ‘Unleashing Opportunity’ budget as part of a bold, necessary path forward. Virginia is on the verge of winning the fierce competition among our peer states for jobs, innovation, residents, and opportunity,” Youngkin said. “Unleashing Opportunity means allowing Virginians to keep more of their hard-earned money, being prepared to take good jobs with a great education, in safe communities, where they can find the resources they need when they need them, in a state that understands what taking care of God’s natural resources means, with a government that works efficiently for all Virginians.”
Youngkin’s proposed budget supports critical initiatives, including:
- Provides Virginians an additional $1 billion in tax relief over the biennium
- Cuts income tax rates for all Virginians by 12%
- Enables low-income Virginians to claim an enhanced Virginia Earned Income Tax Credit, equal to 25% of the federal EITC on top of their 12% individual tax rate cut
- Modernizes Virginia’s tax code and diversifies the tax base by closing the big tech tax loophole and increasing the sales and use tax
- Invites and challenges our General Assembly members to eliminate the personal property tax on vehicles.
- Unleashes $100 million to grow high-wage high-tech jobs in Virginia’s emerging “Research Triangle” focused on biotechnology, life science and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries.
- Provides $150 million to bring state IT systems into the 21st century
- Further drive excellence in education
- Proposes the largest education budget in the history of the Commonwealth, with a record $24 billion investment in our public schools with a nearly $1 billion increase to support our teachers, students, and parents compared to the previous budget.
- Provides $60 million in ongoing support for Lab Schools to help the operating costs of new and innovative schools throughout the commonwealth
- Allocates $40 million to establish the “Diploma Plus” program, to help ensure that every student can obtain an industry-recognized credential in a high-demand field.
- Appropriates $17 million for campus safety and security in coordination with the State Police’s Fusion Center
- Provides a one percent bonus for K-12 for state funded instructional and support positions.
- Supports reading specialists with $61 million over the biennium; a $53 million teacher bonus, on top of the 2% early raise in teacher salaries, starting next month that carries into 2025, and another $122 million supporting a 2% raise in 2026
Ensuring a quality environment for our children and empowering working parents
- Provides over $448 million for the “Building Blocks for Virginia Families” initiative to provide high quality early childhood programs for low income families.
- Ensures that the families of the 27,000 children, currently at risk of following the discontinuation of federal pandemic relief funds, will have alternatives available for their childcare needs.
- Provides $25 million in funding for an incentive grant program to create early learning hubs in partnership with our institution of higher education and localities.
- Allows greater capacity at our childcare centers by continuing the successful use of greater flexibility relating to child-to-staff ratios.
Right help, right now
- Delivers more than $335 million to help meet the Governor’s promise to eliminate the Priority 1 wait list for Developmental Disability Waiver slots.
- Allocates more than $138 million dollars as part of the Right Help, Right Now initiative, allowing more money for start-up expenses of additional new crisis centers, increasing the number of mobile crisis units, offering student mental health services, and increasing the pay for hard-to-fill roles in our state mental health facilities.
- Improves the safety, security, and quality of our long-neglected state mental health facilities with nearly $60 million in repairs and upgrades at the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
Safe communities and bold blue line plan
- Advancing the Bold Blue Line Initiative, the Governor’s budget provides nearly $26 million to address compression for law enforcement, $18 million for law enforcement
- recruitment and wellness, and allocates $33 million for increased salaries for deputy sheriffs and regional jail officers.
- Appropriates $25 million in FY 25 and $18 million in FY 26 for return the Lawrenceville Correctional Center to state management
–The Salem Times-Register