With the arrival of Labor Day, summer has officially drawn to a close. Because we live in central Virginia, though, summer temperatures will stick around for just a bit longer. I hope that you and your family will have a relaxing holiday weekend.
In this monthly e-newsletter, I primarily want to provide you with an update on the state budget. I’ve also included a bit of information about the House Page Program and several upcoming community events.
Late last week, House and Senate budget negotiators announced that they had reached an agreement on an amended state budget. As previously promised, I am updating you on this important development.
By way of background, the General Assembly adopted a two-year state budget in 2022. The legislature almost always amends the existing state budget during the second year of the biennium to take into account changes in state revenues. Virginia is currently flush with cash and has around $5 billion in surplus funds.
The budget amendments include nearly $900 million in tax relief for Virginians. This proposal includes:
- Direct tax rebates for taxpayers ($200 for individual filers; $400 for joint filers)
- Increase in the standard deduction ($8,500 for individual filers; $17,000 for joint filers)
- Removes the age requirement for military retiree tax subtraction (was previously set at 55 years)
- Reinstates Virginia’s sales tax holiday
The above items come on top of the $4 billion in tax cuts previously adopted by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Youngkin.
The proposed budget amendments also make investments in both K-12 and higher education, though we are still waiting on specific numbers to be made public.
There are still a few details to be worked out between budget staff before the final agreement is published. I look forward to thoroughly reviewing the finished proposal and returning to Richmond on September 6th to vote on the budget.
House Page Program
Applications for the 2024 House Page Program are now open!
House Pages live and work in Richmond during the course of the legislative session. Each day, Pages complete their assigned duties while observing the General Assembly in action. Pages are responsible for staying on top of their school work while away from the classroom. As an added benefit, several fun field trips are organized by the Page Supervisors. The experience culminates with a mock debate on the House floor.
Last year, our district was well represented by Ashley, a middle school student from Chesterfield. I am confident we will have another bright mind from the district in the halls of the Capitol during the 2024 Session.
To learn more about the House Page Program (as well as the similar Senate program), click here.
There’s still a few days left to catch the Chesterfield County Fair! The fair will be in town through Saturday, September 2nd. You can learn more about rides, exhibits, and ticket information by visiting chesterfieldcountyfair.org. Teresa and I will be at the fair Friday evening!
Be sure to mark your calendars for Saturday, September 30th for ChesterFest! This is always a great community event with plenty of food, arts, and crafts. Keep an eye out for more details.
Around the District
Despite the heat, August has been a busy month. I’ve enjoyed attending different events throughout Colonial Heights and Chesterfield.
In early August, I had the opportunity to meet with Chesterfield County administrators to learn more about the county’s needs and legislative agenda. When the General Assembly is in session during the winter months, I communicate regularly with leaders in Chesterfield and Colonial Heights regarding pending legislation to learn more about its potential impacts on the localities I represent.
Following a storm that damaged the original memorial tree, Colonial Heights dedicated a new tree in memory of Lieutenant James “Jamie” Sears. Lt. Sears, a dedicated member of the Colonial Heights Police Department, was tragically killed in 2006 in an off duty car accident. Please remember Jamie and all of the first responders that serve and protect our communities.
It remains an honor to represent Colonial Heights and Chesterfield in the Virginia House of Delegates. If I can do anything to assist you or your family with a state-related matter, please let me know.