$2.6 Billion Budget Surplus
These funds will not be considered in the upcoming Special Session but will be allocated during the 2022 General Assembly Session.
Glenn Youngkin’s proposal, which focuses on $1.6 billion in available funds, centers around a $1.5 billion tax refund to Virginians ($300 per individual or $600 per family). His plan would also place a 12 month pause on the state’s gas tax increase. By law, approximately $1 billion of the surplus must go to Virginia’s rainy day and/or water improvement funds, which make up the total of the $2.6 billion surplus.
$4.3 Billion Federal Funds Allotment
Virginia is expected to receive nearly $4.3 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). To better understand Youngkin’s spending proposal, we’ve broken it down into three major areas: Small Business Relief, Public Education and Public Well Being.
Small Business Relief–
Glenn Youngkin’s proposal focuses on providing much needed aid to small businesses in Virginia. Our small businesses are facing pandemic and regulatory burdens that place them at an unfair disadvantage moving forward. An analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that from 2016-2020, Virginia’s economic performance significantly trailed that of other southeastern states. Small businesses are the cornerstone of Virginia’s economic success – providing over 1.5 million jobs. It is essential that our state leaders think about what is best for our small businesses and business owners.
The Youngkin proposal would allocate $2.7 billion to protect small businesses from expected tax increases. Of this allocation, $1.3 billion would be provided to the Virginia Unemployment Insurance Fund, which was significantly depleted by unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, his plan advocates for a 12-month tax holiday for businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $500,000 in income. The plan also reinforces Virginia’s Right to Work policy and reiterates his pledge to “protect Virginian’s from forced unionization.”
With Virginia currently ranked 22nd in the nation for college readiness, we are glad to see that the Youngkin plan would invest $1.2 billion for public education. This allotment includes improvements to school infrastructure, funding for teacher shortages, investments in school choice initiatives, and extra resources for historically Black colleges and universities
The plan includes an innovative pilot program which creates 20 new public-private partnership schools. The specifics of this proposal are not available yet, but similar programs, like Richmond’s Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, have seen great successes for student achievement and could be models for partnerships across the Commonwealth.
Additionally, Youngkin seeks to provide parents with $500 vouchers for each public-school student to help combat learning loss and mental health treatment needs in the wake of public school closures and forced remote learning during the pandemic.
Public Well Being-
While there are many things that can be done to improve “public well-being,” Youngkin’s proposed plan has identified three target areas: rural broadband expansion, public safety, and mental health treatment.
High-speed internet access is essential for business development and modern education excellence. Youngkin’s plan invests in vigorous effort to bring broadband access to all Virginians.
Investing in public safety is key to reducing violent crime and keeping our communities safe. With an increasing violent crime rate, and rising vacancies in police and sheriff’s offices across the Commonwealth, Youngkin’s plan seeks to aid in retaining and recruiting officers by funding $5,000 “retention bonuses” for law enforcement officers.
Finally, the Youngkin Public Well Being investments are rounded out by a “mental health care crisis plan.” With several state mental hospitals halting new admissions for emergency service, our mental health safety net needs significant investments and innovation to serve those in need. Republicans and Democrats alike have noted that our state infrastructure is facing serious challenges, and we are glad to see Glenn Youngkin’s proposal focus on strategic investments.