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Youngkin calls General Assembly back for special budget session

Governor Glenn Youngkin speaks outside the capitol in Richmond.
Ben Paviour
VPM News
Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks outside the capitol in Richmond back in February 2022.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia lawmakers will reconvene in Richmond next week to consider a compromise General Assembly negotiators recently reached on the long-delayed state budget.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin has called the part-time Legislature into session Sept. 6 to consider the deal, his office said in a news release Tuesday.

“To make Virginia more affordable for families and local businesses, we must deliver on our shared goals for more jobs, safer and healthier communities, greater workforce and educational opportunities and much needed tax relief for Virginians. Together, we can get the job done,” Youngkin said.

Last week, negotiators representing the Republican-controlled House of Delegates and Democratic-controlled Senate announced the bare-bones outlines of a compromise budget that would boost education spending and offer some tax relief, mostly in the form of one-time rebates. The full details of the plan, hashed out privately by the negotiators, haven't been released.

This year's budget bill is long overdue.

The politically divided General Assembly ended its regular session in February without full agreement on adjustments to the two-year state budget initially adopted in 2022. The state operates on a two-year budget cycle, with the plan initially adopted in even-numbered years and amended in odd-numbered years. Because there's an underlying budget, the gridlock over this year's adjustments did not impact the functioning of the state government.

Still, lawmakers have faced criticism for failing to finish one of their most important jobs.

Separately on Tuesday, the state's Department of General Services announced the completion of the new building on Capitol Square that will house legislative offices and meeting rooms.

The new General Assembly Building will open to the public Oct. 11, the department said in a news release. Lawmakers and their staffs will begin the process of moving into the building in the coming weeks.

“The new GAB will enable constituents, visitors and all interested parties to more easily observe and actively participate in the lawmaking process,” House Speaker Todd Gilbert said in a statement. “It’s a beautiful new addition to our capital’s skyline and a building worthy of the consequential work that will be conducted within its walls.”

The building was constructed on the same footprint as the one it replaced. It will be connected to the nearby Capitol by a tunnel currently being constructed at an estimated cost of at least $25 million. The tunnel to the Capitol is expected to open ahead of next year's regular General Assembly session, the department said.