9/7/2023, 6 p.m.
A vote Wednesday in the state House and Senate represents good news.
The vote ended a lingering stalemate over parceling out about $3.5 billion in new revenue that had accumulated after the current 2022-24 budget was approved in 2021.
Gov. Glenn A. Youngkin could sign what he has been presented or propose his own changes that the legislature would need to deal with before the process would be complete.
Still congratulations are in order for the senior legislators who made it happen.
When everything is signed, sealed and delivered, the majority of Virginia adults will feel the impact of the deal in the form of a check. Anyone who filed state income taxes this year will get a rebate check for $200, with couples who filed a joint return receiving $400.
The deal also ensures that a program to reduce health care premiums will remain intact and that parents of schoolchildren will be aided by the revival of a sales tax holiday for the purchase of school supplies and clothing.
State workers will feel the impact in the form of larger than expected raises in December. Other winners include the public schools that will receive increased funding to deal with student learning loss and mental health services that will gain more funding to establish and support crisis centers.
Also, state prisons will gain an independent representative called an ombudsman who will be charged with reviewing policy and procedures and working to improve conditions in prisons.
Some crucial items did not make the cut.
The legislature ignored warnings that hundreds of struggling day care providers are likely close now that the federal pandemic subsidies that helped improve pay for workers and cover some operating costs no longer exists. In Virginia, closures are projected to end day care for nearly 90,000 children.
Also, Richmond was expected to receive another $100 million in state funding to support city efforts to end the release of raw sewage into the James River during heavy rains, but the governor’s proposal to make that labeled on the cutting room floor.