Happy New Year! I hope you and your loved ones have a joyful and prosperous 2023.
It is hard to believe that at high noon on January 11 we will gavel in for the 2023 General Assembly session. Odd years are “short” sessions, meaning we will complete (hopefully) our business in 46 days. Virginia packs a lot into these short sessions. On average, over 2,000 bills are introduced. In addition, General Assembly members and the Governor have an opportunity to propose amendments to Virginia’s biennial budget.
You can help shape this year’s session by sharing what is important to you. The easiest way is to email me. I greatly value the diversity of expertise and perspectives of my constituents. Hearing from you helps me to make more informed decisions. Send me a note anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, you can participate in two upcoming forums designed to receive community feedback.
Public Hearings on Proposed Budget Amendments
The House Appropriations and Senate Finance and Appropriations committees will hold virtual public hearings on the Governor’s proposed budget amendments (see below for details). There are four hearings, including one specifically for Northern Virginia. Speakers are asked to limit comments to three minutes or less.
Those wishing to speak must register on Wednesday, January 4. Visit hac.virginia.gov to register and for more information.
If you are unable to attend, you may submit comments electronically. The public hearings will be livestreamed on the Virginia General Assembly web site.
Fairfax Delegation Public Forum
The Fairfax Delegation to the General Assembly will also hold its annual public forum. The forum is limited to Fairfax residents speaking for themselves and/or a community-based organization. Speakers are allotted three minutes on a first-come first-served basis.
Those wishing to speak must register by noon on Thursday, January 5. More information (including how to register and how to watch remotely) can be found here.
Governor Youngkin’s Proposed Budget
Last month, Governor Youngkin presented his proposed budget amendments for consideration by the General Assembly. You can read his proposed budget at this link or you can watch the Governor’s remarks here. In addition, we received a report on the economic outlook from the Secretary of Finance. The key takeaway is “caution.” While FY2022 ended on a revenue high note, the budget assumes a recession beginning at the end of Q3 of FY 2023 and lasting two to three quarters.
In addition to the Governor, each member of the House and Senate may also introduce amendments. It is then ultimately up to the General Assembly to pass a budget. As often quoted in state capitals everywhere “The Governor proposes; the legislature disposes.”
Below is a summary of amendments proposed by the Governor. As always, there are things I agree with and disagree with – with the devil often being in the details. And, just because something is a good idea, it doesn’t make it a priority. In Virginia, we must balance the budget every year.
New Laws – Grocery Tax Decrease
Most laws passed by the General Assembly go into effect July 1. However, some laws have delayed enactments for a variety of reasons. This is the case for a decrease in the grocery tax, which went from 2.5% to 1% effective January 1. The tax cut includes food for home consumption and specific personal hygiene items. Click here for a full list of eligible items. The 1.5% that was eliminated is the state’s portion of the grocery tax. The General Assembly left in place the 1% local sales tax that goes fund local programs.
It is an honor to represent you in the General Assembly! Watch for updates on my legislation and our annual Town Hall meeting in early February.