Fate of proposed General Assembly budget uncertain



(The Center Square) – As the Virginia General Assembly hurtles toward its reconvene session on April 17, questions loom over whether Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin will veto the budget or merely heavily amend it.

Sen. Glen Sturtevant, R-Colonial Heights, recently suggested on social media platform X that lawmakers should go back to the drawing board on the budget, given recent events.

“The bridge collapse this week means the Port of Virginia is going to have to do more to keep the economy moving. The Port should really be the focus of the budget; currently it’s not,” Sturtevant wrote.

“Maybe @GlennYoungkin can get that done with amendments. But what we really need is to scrap the budget and start over with the @PortofVirginia as a major priority.”

The governor is also setting veto records this year. With 87 bills vetoed from this session and hundreds of pieces of legislation left to review, Youngkin, in his third year as governor, has already surpassed former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who held the record for most vetoes of any Virginia governor, according to The Washington Post. McAuliffe vetoed 120 bills during his four years in office, while Youngkin has already vetoed 128.

Those vetoes may also impact the budget, like his recent vetoes of increases to the state’s minimum wage and a cannabis retail market, for which funding had been allotted.

Besides vetoing related legislation and the budget bill altogether, the governor can also make changes to the budget by suggesting amendments or line-item vetoing the items he most disagrees with.

Unlike Sturtevant, Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax, hopes the proposed budget survives the governor’s desk. Boysko is one of five senators on the budget conference committee, alongside six members of the House of Delegates. The committee works out the differences between the proposed House of Delegates and Senate budgets so the General Assembly can send one agreed-upon budget to the governor. That budget was approved 24-14 in the Senate and 62-37 in the House.

“The conference report for the biennium budget was negotiated and agreed to with bipartisan bicameral input and collaboration. The overwhelming majority of Republicans and Democrats voted to approve it because it addresses the issues that Virginians want and need for our government to address,” Boysko told The Center Square in an email.

She went on to say the proposed budget addresses “kitchen table concerns,” like education, health and human services, transportation and infrastructure, while Youngkin’s would neglect those issues to the benefit of the “ultra-rich” and the entertainment district he had hoped to bring to Northern Virginia.

When asked whether the governor considered the budget worthy of a full veto, a spokesperson from Youngkin’s office told The Center Square that the governor is “closely reviewing the legislation and spending proposals sent to his desk.”

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