Virginia is one step closer to a state budget

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RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) – After a months-long standoff, Virginia lawmakers have finally agreed on a budget. It happened to the house on Wednesday June 1st.

The vote comes more than two months after lawmakers walked out of regular session in March. Now an agreement is on the way to the governor’s desk.

Lawmakers hope it will bring some relief to Virginians struggling with soaring food prices.

“Inflation and gas prices are big problems. We all have to deal with it as best we can, we’re in a really tough economic situation right now,” said 25th District Senator Creigh Deeds.

Deeds says he hopes that if Gov. Glenn Youngkin signs this budget, Virginians will see some relief from the pressure on their wallets.

“We’ll get through this. We passed a budget that I hope will bring some relief to people,” Deeds said.

“Later this year, one-off rebate checks will be mailed and the grocery tax reduced. It’s all very good,” said Sally Hudson, District 57 delegate.

Some of this relief will be seen in standard income tax deductions and grocery shopping.

“You’ll also see long-term tax breaks because we’re drastically increasing the standard deduction, which means everyone will keep a higher percentage of their income,” Hudson said.

“Like any household, it’s a compromise,” said District 58 delegate Rob Bell.

“For a long time, members of both parties have wanted to eliminate the sales tax on groceries,” Deeds said. “Abolishing the entire sales tax on groceries, two and a half cents per purchase, two and a half cents per 100, is very difficult to do.”

The proposed budget would eliminate the state’s share of the tax – 1.5%.

“This will abolish the food tax at state level. Now there’s still a local tax, but it eliminates the state’s portion of the food tax,” Bell said.

Hudson and Deeds talked about some areas where they were tight on budget: Hudson mentioned areas like affordable housing and Deeds mentioned mental health.

“It was sad to see that even with record funding excesses, we couldn’t go all out,” Hudson said.

The budget is expected to arrive at Governor Youngkin’s desk next week. After that, he has seven days to approve, veto, or offer changes.

A budget must be in place by July 1 to avoid a government shutdown.

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