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State budget negotiators say they have deal on 'major components'

Barry Knight speaks into a microphone
Steve Helber
AP File
Del. Barry Knight (R–Chesapeake) speaks during a 2022 special session of the Virginia General Assembly in Richmond. Knight and top Democratic budget negotiators released a joint statement Friday saying they've agreed on "major components" of a budget compromise.

The apparent deal was announced in a joint statement Friday, but still needs to be finalized.

The Virginia legislators who have been leading negotiations over the months-delayed state budget announced Friday they have reached agreement on the “major components” of a compromise.

The apparent deal includes a one-time tax rebate of $200 for individuals and $400 for joint-filers, according to a statement from the negotiators. It would also increase the standard deduction, reinstate a popular sales tax holiday and boost spending on public education and college financial aid, the statement said.

The actions are aimed at providing relief to low- and middle-income citizens and Virginia businesses, the negotiators said. The full framework of the proposal was not released, and the statement did not elaborate on the remaining sticking points.

“While the major components have been agreed to, our conferees and staff will be completing the final touches in the days to come. The deal is one that provides Virginians with additional tax relief and unprecedented investments in education, natural resources, and behavioral health. It is a win-win for the citizens of Virginia,” the money committee leaders — Democratic Sens. Janet Howell and George Barker and GOP Del. Barry Knight — said in a joint statement.

The politically divided General Assembly ended its regular session in February without full agreement to adjustments to the two-year state budget initially adopted in 2022. The state operates on a two-year budget, with the plan initially adopted in even-numbered years and amended in odd-numbered years

Closed-door negotiations between the GOP-controlled House and Democratic-controlled Senate have plodded since then.

“While the negotiations have been deliberate and extended, we are very pleased that the outcome is both fair and balanced toward the priorities of the House and Senate. In an era when partisanship often prevails, the negotiations were cordial and respectful,” Friday's statement said.

GOP House Speaker Todd Gilbert said in a statement that the development was “encouraging" and that discussions about when lawmakers might convene for a potential special session to consider the compromise legislation would take place over the coming week.

“We’re closer than ever before to providing real tax relief to Virginia families who are being squeezed by inflation and other skyrocketing costs, and providing historic levels of support for our schools," Gilbert said.

The budget negotiators said earlier this week, when they told reporters they were close to a final product, that a special session would likely take place in September.

Macaulay Porter, a spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, said in a statement that the governor would review the final details when they are released, adding: “Virginians welcome the news that the conferees have come to an agreement on a framework that builds on the governor’s work to deliver historic investments in education and mental health while providing significant tax relief which will reduce the cost of living in the Commonwealth.”

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