Dear Friend,

On Friday, the House and Senate met in Richmond to continue our work on the state budget. As you remember from my recent email on this subject, the legislature passed a compromise budget on June 1st that contained $4 billion in tax cuts for Virginians. In accordance with the powers granted to him by the Constitution of Virginia, Governor Youngkin offered amendments to that plan for consideration by the General Assembly.

In total, the Governor offered 35 amendments to the FY22-23 budget. A number of them were technical in nature and passed unanimously. Others were a bit higher profile and were the subject of some debate.

In this email update, I’d like to share with you several of the amendments considered by the General Assembly. For a full list of the Governor’s amendments to the FY22-23 budget, you can click here.

With gas prices continuing to rise, I was very glad to see Governor Youngkin propose an amendment to the budget package that would create a gas tax holiday to provide Virginians with some much needed relief at the pumps. This measure would suspend the state gas tax during the months July, August, and September before gradually reintroducing it over a period of time. Several other states–both red and blue–have adopted similar programs with success. I voted yes on this amendment, and it passed the House on a vote of 55-41. Unfortunately, the measure was killed in the Senate. I am particularly disappointed that this amendment failed in the Senate because it means Virginians will be stuck paying full price for gas during the busy summer months.

Governor Youngkin also proposed language often known as the ‘Hyde Amendment’ that would prohibit the use of state dollars for abortion procedures unless otherwise required by federal law. This language has long been included in past budgets and has received bipartisan support. I voted yes on this amendment, but it was unfortunately defeated in the Senate.

Following numerous high profile threats against HBCUs across the country, I was very pleased to see additional funds proposed by the Governor to beef up security and infrastructure at both Virginia State University and Norfolk State University. The VSU community has a positive impact on our region, and it is vital to ensure students have the opportunity to learn in a safe environment. I voted yes on this amendment and can report that it passed unanimously in both chambers of the legislature.

As a strong supporter of school choice, I am glad that an amendment was offered to reverse the cuts to the Education Improvement Scholarship Tax Credit (EISTC) program. This key program offers tax credits to individuals or businesses who make donations in the form of scholarships for students to attend eligible private schools and nonpublic pre-kindergarten programs. I voted yes on this amendment and can report that it passed in both the House and Senate.

From here, the budget will go back to the Governor with the adopted amendments where he is expected to sign the bill into law. The new fiscal year will begin on July 1, 2022.

It remains an honor to represent this community in the House of Delegates. If I can assist you or your family in any way, please reach out to me.

Mike Cherry